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Onondaga County plans mosquito spraying after positive EEE tests


Mosquitos have started testing positive for the potentially-deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis across central New York in recent weeks. Pools of mosquitos have tested positive in Onondaga, Oswego and Madison Counties over the last three weeks or so.

The positive mosquitoes have shown up in wet locales, like the Cicero Swamp and Toad Harbor Swamp. And at least in Onondaga County they come in a year where mosquito numbers are down.

"The numbers are the lowest they have been in the last five years," said Onondaga County Environmental Health Director Lisa Letteney. "But that doesn’t correlate with no virus. So we’re going to do some mosquito spraying to try to interrupt that cycle."

Letteney said the county is working with the state for approval to spray 8,000 acres of the Cicero swamp within a few weeks.

"Right now we’re working with the New York state health department. We do have to seek approval from the health department to perform the spraying, that’s where we are right now, but we do plan to do it in the near future," she said.

EEE is a rare, but serious disease that causes inflammation of the brain. It routinely kills animals like horses in central New York every year, but is also can be deadly to humans. So health officials advise residents to use insect repellant when the bugs are most active.

And Letteney said in light of some heavy rain around the region this week, cleaning out places mosquitos can breed is also important.

"Make sure you dump the kiddie pool every day," she said. "Change the water in the birdbath, and that you don’t have tires on your property or other things that can hold that water."

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.