LYONS — Wayne County Public Health would like to remind residents of the importance of protecting yourself against mosquito-bourne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), even as we approach the fall months. It is important to take precautions to avoid possible risk of exposure to either of these illnesses. The best practice to avoid this risk is protection against mosquito bites.
The New York State Department of Health has a robust mosquito surveillance program which includes regularly testing mosquito pools in various counties and across New York State. Recently, some mosquito pools in other counties have tested positive for both WNV and EEE. Although there have been no positive tests to date in Wayne County, it remains just as important to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
Here are just a few ways you can protect yourself:
Use insect repellent properly. Those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are most effective but should be used with care. Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
Limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn which is the peak mosquito biting time.
If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits. Repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Reduce or eliminate all standing water.
Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, or similar water-holding containers.
Clear roof gutters, remove leaf debris from yards and gardens, and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and drain pool covers.
Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.
Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.
Dispose properly of old tires.
The risk of contracting either the EEE virus or the WNV runs from June through September with peak activity late July to August. In the last 12 years, New York State has reported 490 human cases of the WNV with 37 fatalities as compared with only five reported human cases of EEE in the last 40 years, all of which were fatal.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact Wayne County Public Health at 946-5749.