Onondaga County leaders learning how to fight the bite of mosquitoes

The Onondaga County Department of Health has a simple message for the public when it comes to West Nile and other mosquito born viruses. Department of Health Dr. Cynthia Morrow says protecting yourself from mosquito bites is the key.

"People really need to avoid prime feeding times from dusk till dawn, make sure they are wearing long sleeves, long pants and of course using insect repellent," she says.

The health department teamed up with representatives from Senator Charles Schumer's office and experts from SUNY-ESF for a special summit on the West Nile Virus at Beaver Lake Nature Center Tuesday morning.

The summit comes just a day after an Onondaga County resident died from the virus.

This is the first death from the West Nile Virus ever in Onondaga County and the first in New York State this year.

Dr. Morrow says at this point the county has no plans to begin spraying.

"We are seeing historically low levels of mosquitoes right now and for those reasons the population controls we do aren't very effective when there are so few flying mosquitoes," she says.

Lysander Town Supervisor John Salisbury came to the summit to get information on the West Nile Virus.

He says he supports efforts the counties decision not to spray at this time. "They are experts and I have to go along with what they say because I know the spray can be harmful also," he says.

While there are no plans to begin spraying in Onondaga County the health department says that could change if the much more deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE), commonly called Triple E, turns up as it did last year in Central New York.

The good news is that mosquito season is winding down and will soon be over. Until then the health department says residents will still need to do everything they can to fight the bite.