OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Health Department announced today that four additional samples of mosquitoes have tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. The samples were collected last week from the town of Albion and the Toad Harbor Swamp area of West Monroe and Constantia. EEE was found last month in mosquitoes collected in the town of Albion.
EEE is an extremely rare but serious and often fatal infection that causes encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The state Department of Health tested the mosquito samples and has declared EEE an “imminent threat to public health” in Oswego County.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the official “threat to public health” designation by the state Health Department is one of the first steps required before Oswego County receives permission from state agencies to conduct aerial spraying of targeted areas.
Huang said aerial spraying is a temporary, partial measure to control the spread of EEE virus. The date and time of spraying will be announced as soon as plans are finalized to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to prepare.
People should use insect repellents and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks when outdoors; continue to limit their outdoor activities around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; and eliminate standing water around the home.
Repellents containing DEET are the most effective but should be used with caution and according to label instructions. Products containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective.
For more information about EEE and other viruses transmitted by mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3564 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. or visit the New York State Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm