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COLUMN: Protect yourself from mosquitoes

West Nile Virus found at Beaver Lake, four other locations in CNY

— On Aug. 1, Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia B. Morrow announced that the New York State Health Department laboratory reported finding evidence of West Nile virus in five different locations in Onondaga County. These findings were in mosquito pools collected in the: Town of Jordan; at Beaver Lake Nature Center in Lysander; at the Clay Marsh in Clay; at Taft Road in Cicero; and at Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton. The traps were collected between July 20 and 26 and sent to the New York State laboratory for testing.

“It is evident that West Nile virus is widespread and it is essential that the public take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes,” Morrow said.

According to the Onondaga County Health Department, mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn and personal protection is advised during outdoor activities. Personal protection measures include wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time.

Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.

The following are ways of helping to reduce mosquito breeding grounds:

  • Put away outdoor containers, ceramic pots or other containers that hold water
  • Remove all tires from your property
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
  • Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly
  • Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
  • Change water in bird baths at least every four days
  • Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
  • Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs
  • Drain water from pool covers
  • Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates

For more information about personal protection measures, contact the OCHD, Division of Environmental Health at 435-1649. For more information about mosquito borne disease, visit ongov.net/health; this website is updated weekly.

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