The Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus has been found in a sample of mosquitos collected last week in the village of Central Square.
The Oswego County Health Department was notified by the State Health Department late Tuesday afternoon and is requesting the New York State Department of Health issue a declaration of "imminent threat to public health" in Oswego County.
The Oswego County Health Department is also planning to conduct aerial spraying of the Big Bay and Toad Harbor Swamp area as soon as possible. The schedule for spraying will be announced to the public as soon as it's developed.
Neighbors living around Toad Harbor Swamp are nervous about the virus being found.
"[It] makes me a little nervous not knowing too much about it," said Heather Goodnight Brown of West Monroe. "We do have animals and livestock as well. So that does concern me for the chickens and turkeys and horses."
Another neighbor has additional cause for concern.
"I have a daughter on the way, and that little girl died a few years back of EEE," said Joshua Ziemba of West Monroe. "I don't want to see that happen to my daughter or anybody's daughter."
EEE claimed the life of 4-year-old Maggie Sue Wilcox, an Oswego County girl, last summer. The virus can affect humans, birds and other mammals. EEE is usually much rarer than West Nile. Children under age 15 and adults over age 50 are at greatest risk of contracting EEE.
The Oswego County Health Department collects samples of mosquitoes throughout the summer to look for evidence of West Nile and EEE. Mosquito samples collected earlier this summer in New Haven, Central Square and West Monroe tested positive for West Nile virus. It has also been detected in Onondaga County.
You can take several precautions to protect yourself against EEE and West Nile Virus. When you're outside at dawn or dusk, wear shoes, socks, long pants with the bottoms tucked into boots or socks, and a long sleeved shirt. You can also use mosquito repellant over clothes while outside. Finally, repair or replace any broken screens in doors and windows around your home.