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Health officials warn more rain could mean more mosquitoes

Onondaga County Health Department Facebook

As central New York continues to receive an above average amount of rain this month, health officials are warning about the risk of more mosquitoes than usual.

Lisa Letteney, Onondaga County’s director of environmental health, said every year they expect to find the West Nile and Triple E virus in mosquitoes.

“That’s why we tell everybody the most important thing is try to avoid mosquito bites and avoid mosquito breeding on your property,” Letteney said. “We will get it.”

She recommends using mosquito and insect repellant or lemon eucalyptus oil and wearing shoes, light-colored socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts.

“It’s certainly hard when its 90 degrees out to be wearing this type of thing," Letteney said. "But if you’re going to be in an area that has a lot of mosquitoes, it’s a good idea to do this.”

Any standing water can turn into a breeding area for mosquitoes. Letteney said turn over flower pots and wheelbarrows, change the water frequently in kid pools and bird baths and maintain proper chlorination in swimming pools.

The Jamestown Canyon virus was recently discovered in two mosquito pools in Liverpool and Syracuse, the first time the virus, which is rare, has appeared in Onondaga County since 2014. There have been no known human cases in the county. Most people have no symptoms, but some can develop fever, fatigue, headache, cough and sore throat. Very few can develop encephalitis, which is more serious.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.