West Nile virus detected in surveillance pools; Erie County residents can reduce mosquito populations and take steps to prevent itchy bites
Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
As summer draws to a close, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is reminding residents about ways to reduce mosquito populations in their neighborhood and how to prevent mosquito bites. The reason? West Nile virus, one of many arboviruses that can infect humans and cause serious disease, has been detected in mosquitoes collected in recent surveillance pool testing within Erie County.
“Mosquitoes don’t stay within any individual town or village border, so we are making the educated assumption that mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus are in all municipalities,” said Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi, who manages Erie County’s vector control program. “Residents should take the appropriate precautions to fight mosquitoes in their own yards, and protect their skin from mosquito bites.”
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not have symptoms of illness. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms like headache, body pains, vomiting or rash. For one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus, a severe illness affecting the central nervous system severe illness. Fatigue and weakness from a West Nile virus infection can last for weeks or months.
ECDOH is providing a printable version of its “Fight Mosquitos One Yard at a Time” poster, showing simple steps to limit places in yards where mosquitos can lay their eggs and multiply.
Mosquitoes only need as little as a bottle cap-full of water to lay eggs that will hatch as biting insects in about 48 hours. Stagnant pools and standing water can lead to substantial numbers of mosquitoes in a neighborhood. The ECDOH Division of Environmental Health and its vector control program is continuing to respond to complaints about stagnant pools. For more information on this program, call 716-961-6800.
It is important to use EPA-registered insect repellents to prevent mosquito bites. Follow label instructions and safety precautions, and reapply as recommended. Products labeled as “organic” or “all natural” may not have data to show that they are safe or effective at preventing mosquito bites.
Take steps to eliminate all standing water from property.
√ Keep pool cover free of standing water.
√ Maintain pools by chlorinating and filtering.
√ Maintain ornamental ponds. (Stock with fish. Bubblers and fountains prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.)
√ Clean clogged house gutters of debris.
√ Change water in birdbath and planter bases every one to three days.
√ Turn over containers, buckets and wading pools.
√ Remove unrimmed tires from property.
√ Check window and door screens, and repair if needed.
√ Properly grade property to prevent standing water.
√ Maintain drainage ditches and keep clear of any obstructions.
√ Properly cut and maintain all vegetation on property.
Even as cooler weather takes hold, to reduce the risk of mosquito bites when outdoors, residents should:
√ Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
√ Consider insect repellant and use according to label directions.
√ Limit outdoor activities; mosquitoes are most active at dusk and at dawn.
√ Stay away from brush, shrubs and wooded areas where mosquitoes may live.