By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Onondaga County health officials are reporting two mosquito pools in the Syracuse area have tested positive for the presence of Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV).

Image/David Benbennick

Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said one is from a trap located on Midler Avenue in Syracuse, and another located in Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool.

This is the first finding of the virus in mosquitoes in Onondaga County since 2014. There have been no known human cases in Onondaga County.

Dr. Gupta explained that, “Jamestown Canyon virus is spread to people by infected mosquitoes. Many people have no symptoms and do not get sick, but some have symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, cough and sore throat. Very rarely it can develop into encephalitis. The best way to reduce your risk of infection is by avoiding mosquito bites.”

The Health Department reminds residents that there are steps everyone should take to protect themselves from mosquito bites during outdoor activities:

  • Wear shoes, light-colored socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck in your shirt and tuck pant legs into boots or socks.
  • Consider using insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and other products that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Use this EPA search tool to help you choose the repellent product that is right for you, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use for safety and effectiveness. Insect repellents should be applied only to intact skin or over clothing. Do NOT apply DEET or Picaridin directly onto children’s skin (apply to your own hands and then put it on the child). Repellent should not be used on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

It is also important to mosquito-proof your home by replacing or repairing broken screens and getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed. Keep your property free of standing water by cleaning clogged rain gutters; turning over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use; changing water in birdbaths every four days; properly maintaining swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; draining water from pool covers; and, using landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates.

Jamestown Canyon virus circulates widely in North America primarily between deer and mosquitoes but can also infect humans. Reports in humans have been increasing over the last several years as recognition and testing for this virus has increased. Many illnesses caused by JCV are mild, but moderate-to-severe central nervous system involvement requiring hospitalization have been reported, including fatal infections.

There are no vaccines to prevent JCV and treatment consists of supportive care.