Central NY health officials work to prevent EEE

May 17, 2012

Three people have died in the last three years in Central New York from the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, which can be spread from mosquitoes to  humans.

The deaths have sent scares across the region, and the health departments in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, and Oneida Counties are taking it seriously.

“It is a rare disease, but it is a very fatal disease and I think that that is very frightening for everybody,” remarked Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow.

On Wednesday afternoon the health officials held an event that took members of the media through the scientific processes they’re using to keep infected mosquitoes away from the area and to find out where they’re coming from.

They also pointed out what people can do to prevent infection themselves. One point made by Jesse Orton, from the Oneida County Public Health Department, is to look at the DEET levels in your bug spray.

Orton noted that the longer you plan to be outside, the higher the percentage DEET you should use.

He also mentioned that there are things you can do outside your home to keep the mosquitoes away.

“Lowering the amount of stagnant water on your property, so paying attention to things like a wheel barrow left in the yard up, may be a spot to contain water and that water to become stagnant, which can attract mosquitos,” Orton said.