Mosquitoes Found Positive for West Nile Virus

Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Indu Gupta, was notified by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory today that a mosquito pool from a trap located at Island Road in the town of Cicero has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Dr. Gupta explains that “West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito; therefore it is extremely important that people use personal protection measures to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.” This is the first positive finding of WNV in mosquitoes in Onondaga County since 2019.

West Nile Virus
Most people who are infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. One in five people with mild cases may develop fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, or rash. People with severe illness usually have a high fever, sudden headache, neck stiffness, altered mental status, inflammation of the brain or membrane of the spinal cord (encephalitis or meningitis). People at greatest risk of developing severe disease are those over 60 years of age and people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, or who have received organ transplants.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites
This first positive finding of WNV in mosquitoes serves as a reminder for all residents that the virus is present and to be consistent in protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites no matter where you live.

Personal protection is recommended during outdoor activities by wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time. Use insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and other products that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use for safety and effectiveness. Insect repellents should be applied only to intact skin or over clothing. Do NOT apply DEET or Picaridin directly onto children’s skin—apply to your own hands and then put it on the child. Repellent should never be used on babies younger than 2 months old.

Given the significant amount of rainfall in Onondaga County recently, it is extremely important to remove mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating any standing water that may have collected on your property:

  • Throw away outdoor containers, ceramic pots, or containers that hold water
  • Remove all tires from your property
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
  • Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly
  • Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
  • Change water in birdbaths at least every four days
  • Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
  • Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs
  • Drain water from pool covers
  • Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates

The Onondaga County Health Department remains in close contact with the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. For the weekly mosquito pool test results and for more information about personal protection measures against mosquitoes, visit or contact the Onondaga County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health at 315. 435.1649.