Central New York counties take new steps to prevent EEE

Jun 14, 2012

Several New York counties are taking new steps to stop the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.

Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego and Madison Counties will each send more mosquito samples to the New York State Department of Health for testing than they did last year. Those results will help officials track the virus moving through the area.

But little is known about the virus' life cycle, so in Oswego County the health department is working on a project to trap, mark and release adult mosquitoes near Toad Harbor and Big Bay Swamp.

Evan Walsh of the Oswego County Health Department says the marked insects will be recaptured later to reveal their migration patterns.

“What we are hoping to get definitive information on is how far they will travel, when they will travel, and how long it takes them to travel,” Walsh said.

That information will be used to identify the best sites for aerial spraying. But Walsh says that still will not eliminate the risk of EEE.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the EEE virus rarely affects humans but it kills a third of the people it does affect.

Officials recommend people use a DEET-based insect repellant as well as reduce outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.