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More disease carrying mosquitoes found in Oswego and Onondaga counties


Oswego County is expected to be conduct aerial spraying Monday evening along the north shore of Oneida Lake, after Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus showed up in samples of mosquitoes earlier this month. 

While West Nile Virus has turned up in several traps in Onondaga County this summer, EEE is nowhere to be found so far. Environmental Health Director Lisa Letteney says it’s that virus that is more often deadly to humans, and is what triggers aerial spraying. If it doesn’t turn up, Letteney says this could be the second year in a row the county doesn’t have to spray.

“If you look at our history, there have been years where we don’t find EEE, or we don’t find it for a couple of years. It tends to cycle sometimes,” said Letteney.

As far as West Nile goes, it’s turned up in samples in Cicero, Salina, Lysander, DeWitt and Geddes, and that’s a wide enough range for the department to issue a county-wide warning. But the county won’t say exactly where in those towns the samples have been found.

“Giving the exact spot where the trap is located is not going to give anyone any useful information in terms of protecting themselves, because it’s really important that everyone protect themselves,” she said. “Our message really is out there, that we have West Nile in the county, we found it in several of the towns. And what’s important is that everybody uses protection in the county at this point.”

That means using insect repellents when going outdoors, and removing any areas of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Most cases of West Nile in humans produce no symptoms, but it can be fatal in rare cases.

This is the area the Oswego County health department plans to spray Monday evening

In Oswego County, weather permitting, spraying is expected to begin around 6:00 p.m. Monday evening in the Toad Harbor Swamp area. Residents will be notified if there are any changes to the schedule. Health officials ask people who live in the area that will be sprayed to stay indoors both during the spraying and for an hour after it’s finished, bring in any toys, and cover any sensitive vegetation. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.