Mosquitoes Found Positive for West Nile Virus

The Onondaga County Health Department was notified by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory today that a mosquito pool from a trap located at Taft Road in the town of Cicero has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This first positive finding of WNV in mosquitoes this year in Onondaga County 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.

West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. 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, and 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.

Prevent Mosquito Bites
While mosquito counts in Central New York currently are extremely low, it is always important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. 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.

Remove Standing Water from Your Property
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 Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The decision to spray is based on several factors including, but not limited to, the number of mosquitoes found in mosquito surveillance traps. All spraying decisions are made with assistance from NYSDOH and the NYSDEC.

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.