Help stop the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses

— Yes, it’s that time again: time for mosquito spraying and time to keep ourselves protected from mosquito bites. Our community is a great place to live, but we do need to be diligent about mosquito protection. We all know the basics, but as vice chair of the county legislature’s Health Committee, one of my accountabilities is to keep you fully apprised of county efforts to minimize our exposure to mosquitoes and of current preventatives against mosquito bites.

There are two separate concerns: West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). West Nile Virus typically appears in early to late July, whereas EEE is usually detected in mid-August. The county maintains 22 mosquito traps to test for WNV and EEE, approximately four of which are located right here in Cicero: Island Road and Taft Road, and along Ley Creek and Oneida Shores. So far this year, more than 185,000 mosquitoes have been trapped and one of the pools on East Taft Road tested positive for EEE, prompting the aerial spraying that took place on July 22.

The county takes a proactive approach to tackling this issue and is on track to test more pools of mosquitoes for infectious disease than ever before. Also, new technology is being introduced to help in this issue, such as the use of DRB (Dark Resting Box) testing, which is part of the testing on Island Road in Cicero.

Despite the county’s efforts, being protected from bites and knowing the current status of testing are major concerns on a personal level. An excellent source for this and other information is on the county’s website, ongov.net/health/mosquitoborne.html. There is a host of information there, including weekly reports to let people know the amount of mosquitoes present when tested. There are also tips for minimizing mosquito bites, such as getting rid of standing water around your home, making sure windows and doors have screens and wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks when you are outside at dusk or dawn. It is also important to use EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or IR3535.

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