Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Cynthia B. Morrow announced today that the New York State Health Department laboratory has reported finding evidence of West Nile virus in Onondaga County. The finding was in a mosquito pool collected at the Midler Avenue trap in the City of Syracuse on July 20, 2011 and sent to the New York State laboratory for testing. This is the first finding of West Nile virus in Onondaga County this year. There have been no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Onondaga County this year.
Onondaga County started its adult mosquito surveillance program in June. Morrow explained, “This finding is a reminder that it is essential that the public take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Please also keep your yard free from standing water because this is a breeding ground for mosquitoes to multiply.”
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Personal protection is advised during outdoor activities. Personal protection measures include wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time. 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. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
The following are ways of helping to reduce mosquito breeding grounds:
• Throw away outdoor tin cans, 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
For more information about personal protection measures contact the Onondaga County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health at 435-1649. For more information about mosquito borne disease visit www.ongov.net/health; this website is updated weekly.