The rare disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE has been found in Central New York mosquito pools in Onondaga, and Oswego Counties.

According to the New York State Department of Health; EEE is a potentially life- threatening illness that is spread by mosquitoes and can affect people and horses. Most people with EEE infection do not experience any noticeable illness, but those that do can develop severe symptoms such as seizures, muscle weakness, rash, and nausea.  There is no specific medication to treat EEE. About one-third of people who develop symptoms of EEE will die of the illness, and of those who survive, many have lifelong mild to severe brain damage. EEE is most commonly found in mosquitoes in the swampy areas in north central New York.

Officials say people of all ages are susceptible to infection, but people over 50 and younger than 15 are at the greatest risk for contracting the virus. The New York State Department of Health recommends the public take precautions to reduce the risk of infection they are

  • Use insect repellent for use on exposed skin
  • Always follow label directions before using any kind of repellent
  • Reduce or eliminate all standing water in yards.
  • Remove discarded tires and turn over containers in which water can collect
  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens and are free of rips, tears or holes
  • Clean and chlorinate  swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs
  • Drain water from swimming pool covers
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
  • Larvicide can be used according to label directions on areas where water collects

The Onondaga County Health Department is making preparations to conduct aerial spraying of the Cicero Swamp and the surrounding areas next week This is a protective measure to attempt to interrupt the virus cycle in the mosquito population. The timing of the spraying will be determined based on weather and other factors.

[CNY Central]