West Nile Virus

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The state health department is prepared, if a case of the Zika virus develops in New York state. While officials want to be ready for the worst, they’re finding some positives in the reaction to the latest insect driven disease, that at its worst, causes birth defects in newborns.

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Central New York Health officials say its that time of year to start thinking about preventing mosquito bites. Memorial Day signals the start of warm weather that means prime breeding conditions for mosquitoes and every year, it means health officials throughout the region go on the offensive as the West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis can begin percolating among the insects that live here.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Indu Gupta says prevention is the only way to deal with these diseases. 

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Onondaga County’s yearly mosquito testing program has started for the season. For the first time, the county is on the lookout for the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

A yearling horse in the town of Vernon has tested positive for West Nile Encephalitis, despite the fact the county has not yet discovered the virus in any mosquito pools during its summer monitoring.

The horse eventually became paralyzed in its hind legs, but was treated by veterinarians and has shown improvement. Ken Fanelli, a spokesman with the Oneida County Health Department, says it can be difficult to keep horses from contracting West Nile Virus.

Gravitywave / via Flickr

The conventional wisdom is that it's going to be a bad year for mosquitos, because of the very rainy June. But, whether that means more incidence of mosquito born viruses, is debatable.

Biomedical researchers from across the world will converge in Syracuse Friday to discuss a disease that is usually associated with tropical climates. Dengue fever, which is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the tropics, has turned up in the United States.

The New York State Department of  Agriculture is urging horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and the West Nile virus.

With the spread of West Nile Virus across the country, some communities have chosen to spray pesticides to kill the mosquitoes that carry the deadly virus.  Despite the death of an elderly man in Syracuse from West Nile this week, Onondaga County officials have decided against that option.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

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.