The Oswego County Health Department reports that two horses in the town of Palermo died earlier this week of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). The diagnosis was confirmed in test results released today by the state Department of Health. The horses lived on the same farm and had not been vaccinated for EEE.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang reminds residents that the EEE virus (EEEV) will remain active in the environment until the first heavy frost occurs.
“Until we have a killing frost, people in all areas of Oswego County need to fully protect themselves from mosquito bites when they participate in outdoor activities,” he said. “Please avoid being outdoors during the periods when mosquitoes are most active, primarily around dusk and dawn. If you are outdoors, you should be wearing long pants and long sleeves, and using insect repellents.”
Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective. Repellents which contain permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin. Read the product label for repellents and follow package instructions.
People should wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, socks, and shoes when weather permits.
“EEEV is endemic to our area,” said Huang. “Our surveillance shows that the virus is still active in Oswego County. We continue to monitor and assess mosquito and virus activities. We work closely with the state Department of Health, which provides support and guidance.”
EEEV has been found at sampling sites in Palermo, Albion, West Monroe, Hastings, Central Square and Constantia.
Huang said the Health Department is discussing aerial spraying and is working with a pesticide applicator to obtain adequate supply. He said there is currently a nationwide pesticide shortage. Plans will be announced when they are finalized.