Following death from West Nile, governments look to prevention

Aug 21, 2012

In the shadow of the death of an elderly Syracuse man from West Nile Virus this week, local governments continue to try to get the word out about how to stay away from the disease that is carried by mosquitos.

Local government and health officials met Tuesday at Beaver Lakes Nature Center in Baldwinsville to discuss West Nile prevention. The summit was organized by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

"We're certainly going to try to educate the public and reach out to tell people to protect themselves," said Town of Lysander engineer Al Yeager. The town is launching an education campaign on its village website.

That means advising people to use insect repellant or wear protective clothing if they are outside during peak mosquito biting times, typically between dusk and dawn.

The other piece to fighting West Nile is to keep mosquitos from breeding in stagnant water. Property owners are advised to keep water from accumulating in things like birdbaths or ditches. That is also why Cicero is creating a new Drainage Master Plan for the first time in almost 40 years. 

Supervisor Jim Corl says engineers are following the water.

"Under 81, under South Bay Road, Mud Creek, Volmer Creek  - these are the areas we have to look and see that water is not flowing properly," said Corl.

Onondaga County isn't doing aerial or ground spraying of pesticides because of the low mosquito population and the fact that the incidents of West Nile Virus spreads across a large geographical area.

For more information on West Nile Virus and other mosquito-bourne illnesses in central New York, go to the Onondaga County Health Department website.