Tire Amnesty Day collects 2,000 tires in fight against EEE and West Nile in Oswego County

Oswego County residents dropped off more than 2,000 tires during "Tire Amnesty Day" on Saturday.

The event, hosted by State Senator Patty Ritchie, was an effort to combat Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus. It allowed residents to dispose of up to four old tires for free to encourage the removal of old tires, which can collect standing water and become prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Earlier this month, the Oswego County Health Department announced that three mosquito pools in and around Central Squire tested positive for the potential deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. Another pool in the town of New Haven tested positive for West Nile virus.

State Senator Patty Ritchie anticipated this could happen, so she secured 20,000 in state funds for a "Tire Amnesty Day." This is the second year Senator Ritchie was able to secure special funding in the State Budget for an "Eastern Equine Encephalitis Program," which is aimed at paying for aerial spraying, funding a horse vaccination program and supporting educational outreach to communities.

Last year, nearly 2,000 horses were vaccinated and more than 3,000 free larvicide treatments were distributed, according to Senator Ritchie.

EEE is a rare but serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes. There are typically 5-10 human cases in the United State each year. People over the age of 50, and under the age of 15, have the greatest risk of infection.

The West Nile virus has also been found in Madison County and Onondaga County this year. Last week, the Oneida County Health Department announced a horse living on a farm in Vernon was paralyzed in his hind legs, after being infected with the virus.