Onondaga County Interim Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano, announced today that the New York State Department of Health’s laboratory has reported finding the first evidence of West Nile virus (WNV) in Onondaga County this year in two mosquito pools. One pool was collected at the Taft Road site and the other at the Geddes site which is located off Belle Isle Road. Additional evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) was found in four mosquito pools collected in the Town of Cicero, all of which have previously tested positive for EEE: two at the Taft Road site; one at the Rt. 298 site; and one at the Island Road site.
The Onondaga County Health Department is not planning on conducting aerial or ground spraying at this time. Mosquito surveillance consisting of collecting and testing mosquitoes and applying larvicides to control mosquitoes prior to them becoming adults will continue. Ms. Mignano reminds residents, “Although mosquito counts continue to be relatively low, it is important that the public continue to practice personal protection measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to keep your yard free from standing water to reduce the mosquito population near your home until we have a hard frost.”
The Health Department would like to remind the public that mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Personal protection is advised during outdoor activities.
Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness will usually have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito.
Less than one percent of persons exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of developing more severe disease. People who are immunocompromised may also be at high risk of WNV infection.
EEE is a rare but dangerous viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms, which usually start 4-10 days after the bite, can include fever, headache, and vomiting. Illness can then progress to altered mental status, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. The greatest risk for infection with this virus is for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page