Aerial spraying planned for Oswego County after mosquitoes test positive for EEE and West Nile Virus

Aerial spraying is being planned for portions of Oswego County after mosquito

pools in Oswego County tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus and West Nile virus (WNV) on Aug. 7.

Two mosquito pools collected in the village of Central Square tested positive for both the EEE virus and West Nile virus, and a third pool in the village of Central Square tested positive for EEE. One mosquito pool collected in the town of New Haven tested positive for West Nile virus.

Oswego County Health officials are now warning people to take precautions. "It is critical that people take individual protective measures to reduce their chances of being exposed to EEE virus and West Nile virus," said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "These are different diseases caused by different viruses. We are working very closely with the New York State Department of Health, and we have begun the process to obtain the necessary permits for aerial spraying of areas where EEE was found. We will notify the public through the news media of the aerial spraying schedule."

In rare cases, humans can be infected with the EEE virus or West Nile virus. Both may cause severe inflammation and swelling of the brain, even death. West Nile virus could be much less severe and most infected humans do not develop symptoms. Symptoms from the viruses' infections include sudden high fever, muscle pains, and a headache of increasing severity. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Health officials urge you to stay away from areas where mosquitoes concentrate and limit outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. "People in Oswego County should continue to be vigilant in their personal protection measures regardless," said Huang. "This is the key to safeguard against these viruses."

Here are some tips from the Oswego County Health Department:

- Use insect repellent properly. Those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are most effective but should be used with care. Read the product label and use according to package instructions.

- Limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn, which is the peak mosquito biting time.

- If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits.

Here are some protective measures you can take to minimize mosquitoes around your home:

- Repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

- Reduce or eliminate all standing water.

- Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, or similar water-holding containers.

- Clear roof gutters, remove leaf debris from yards and gardens, and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.

- Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.

- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and drain pool covers.

- Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.

- Dispose of old tires at an Oswego County transfer station. There is a minimum $10 disposal fee. Contact the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 591-9200 for details.