Oswego County takes new approach to fighting mosquito-borne EEE

Oswego County is taking a novel new approach to fighting the deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

The County intends to capture mosquitoes, mark them with a fluorescent powder, release them, and then trace their whereabouts with mosquito traps and blacklights. The so called "mark, release, recapture" project is intended to locate "ground zero," where the virus may originate in Oswego County, according to County Administrator Philip Church. Oswego County is enlisting the help of Onondaga, Oneida, and Madison Counties to better track the spread of EEE. Church says the method will help the Health Department better use its resources to target specific areas for mosquito control.

Church told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that in years past, the EEE virus originated in the Toad Harbor region, near Oneida Lake, but last year, he says it showed up simultaneously throughout a wide area of Oswego County. Church says this "mark, release, recapture" project will help determine whether last year's outbreak was an anomaly, or whether the infected mosquitoes will show up throughout a wider area.

In addition, the County is releasing a new public information brochure about how to avoid EEE infection.

Oswego County has stepped up its efforts to combat this disease following the death last year of 4-year-old Maggie Sue Glenister Wilcox, of New Haven. She died last August after being bitten by an infected mosquito.