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Mosquito Borne Illness

Mosquito Borne Illness - West Nile Virus, EEE, Chikungunya, Dengue & Zika

The goal of this program is to prevent occurrences of mosquito borne illnesses in humans by providing information about West Nile Virus and other mosquito borne diseases, as well as how to avoid mosquito bites.

West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne infection, was first found in New York State in 1999. While the chances of anyone becoming ill from the virus are small, persons over the age of 50 infected with the virus are at higher risk for serious illness.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious mosquito-borne disease. Swampy areas in counties east of Cayuga County, such as Oswego County, historically have had some EEE virus activity in horses as well as in a few species of mosquitoes.

For people traveling outside of the United States, precautions should be taken to avoid Chikungunya and Dengue Fever . Both of these illnesses have been reported in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.  

The best way to protect yourself from mosquito-related illnesses is to keep mosquitoes from biting you.

Mosquito Facts

  • Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn.
  • Mosquitoes live and breed in swampy areas, or areas with standing water.
  • Mosquito activity increases during summer months.
  • Groups most at risk for illness include children, adults over the age of 50, and those with weakened immune systems.
  • Symptoms of mosquito-relate illness are often flu-like, but can become more severe for some people

Tips For Avoiding Mosquito Bites

When enjoying the outdoors, there are ways to avoid the mosquito bite. Knowing when mosquitoes are most active, may also help you avoid "the bite". Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. Follow these tips below to avoid mosquito bites:
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET when necessary.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks.
  • Avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito activity. If the outdoor activity cannot be avoided, take extra pre-cautions for the duration of the activity.
  • Be sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens to avoid mosquitoes from entering the home.

Tips For Controlling Mosquitoes In & Around Your Home:

Mosquitoes need standing water to lay eggs and reproduce. To reduce the mosquito population around your home, you need to:
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, flower pots, buckets, barrels or any similar water holding containers.
  • Dispose of any used tires.
  • Remove leaf debris.
  • Make sure all roof gutters drain properly. All gutters should be free of debris that would cause them to clog. It is recommended to clean all roof gutters in the spring and fall seasons.
  • Turn over any plastic wading pools or wheel barrels when not in use.
  • Change water in bird bathes on a weekly basis. It is recommended to change water at least twice a week.
  • Clean any vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
  • Keep children's wading pools empty when not in use.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

Found a Dead Bird?

The New York State Department of Health is no longer testing birds for West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is present in all areas of New York State. If you find a dead bird:

  1. Wearing disposable gloves, pick up the bird
  2. Place the bird in a plastic bag.
  3. Dispose of it in your household trash.

Useful Information: