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      Conference to fight Eastern Equine Encephalitis

      S tate and county officials gathered in Oswego Thursday to discuss fighting Eastern Equine Encephalitis in New York state.

      This is something Senator Patty Ritchie (R-48th District) has been pushing for since the death of 4 year old Maggie Wilcox, of New Haven, in August.

      T here have been three EEE related deaths in Onondaga and Oswego counties since 2009.

      M aggie's aunt and mother were at the meeting.

      " I f my pre sence here provokes one person to spray their child, to take heed, to listen to what's going on, to protect one person, then it is worth me coming here," says Julie Wilcox, Maggie's mother. "I don't want my daughter to have died and to have nothing positive to come out of this."

      S ome of the suggestions include looking into a EEE vaccine for humans, speeding up testing, and using sentinel chickens to detect the virus sooner.

      "I think this forum is the first sign that people are really understanding it's a critical issue," says Sen. Ritchie. "They're ready to talk about things we can do to have a preventative plan in place earlier next year."

      Senator Ritchie says she hopes to have a comprehensive plan within the next few weeks.