First evidence of West Nile virus in Oswego County this year found near Central Square

The Oswego County Health Department reports that the first evidence of West Nile virus this year was found in near the village of Central Square last week.

Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director of the Oswego County Health Department, said Wednesday that there are no known human cases of West Nile virus in Oswego County at this time.

Huang said the Health Department was notified Tuesday of the West Nile test result.

â??The West Nile virus has already appeared in Onondaga County, and in areas near New York City,â?? said Huang. â??As of today, there have been 33 positive collections of West Nile virus in New York State. It is essential that people use insect repellents and continue to be proactive in protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites.â??

The Health Department says West Nile Virus can cause serious health problems and in rare instances can lead to death. Individuals over the age of 50 are at highest risk for serious illness.

The following are personal protection measures you can take to reduce the risk of illness from mosquitoes:

-- Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time (Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn)

-- Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors.

The following are ways of helping to reduce mosquito breeding grounds:

-- Throw away outdoor plastic 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 bird baths 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

More information about the West Nile is available on the New York State Department of Healthâ??s website. You can also contact the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.