State declares imminent threat to public health from mosquito-bourne diseases

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Division has received notification from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah of the declaration of an Imminent Threat to Public Health for mosquito-borne disease. The finding of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus in several mosquito pools indicates that a significant risk to human health is present in Chautauqua County.

This declaration enables a local health department to undertake public health activities to control mosquito populations in accordance with New York state regulations.

“Our efforts are focused on reducing the risk of any human cases of mosquito-borne disease,” said Christine Schuyler, Director of CCDHHS. “This means a robust education initiative to prevent mosquito bites and an active and effective surveillance system to determine the extent of the virus. While no human disease has been detected, the presence of mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus as well as the West Nile virus shows the potential is there for an infected mosquito to bite humans and spread disease.”

All the positive readings have occurred in the southern end of the county near the Jamestown Audubon, however, according to Schuyler, the results from the traps in other areas of the county have not come back yet.

For more information on West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, visit:

www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west-nile-virus/fact-sheet.htm

www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern-equine-encephalitis/fact-sheet.htm.

The NYSDOH 2012 Mosquito Borne Illness Surveillance & Response Plan can be found at: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west-nile-virus/docs/2012-mosquito-borne-illness-surveillance-and-response-plan.pdf

FIGHT THE BITE

Protect yourself and others from Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Mosquito bites can spread diseases like WNV and EEE. Mosquito-borne disease is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Who is most at risk?

Adults over 50 years old and children are the most at risk of becoming severely ill from infection. People who are outdoors a lot may be at the most risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

What are the symptoms of WNV and EEE?

Most people who are infected with WNV do not get sick. Mild cases can cause a slight fever and headache and usually get better on their own. Serious infections can cause a high fever with head and body aches. Symptoms of severe illness from WNV and EEE include: severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors (shaking), coma, or paralysis. See your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms.

PROTECT YOURSELF AND PROTECT OTHERS

Get rid of water. Mosquitoes need water to multiply. Get rid of any standing water around your home. Cut weeds and tall grasses.

Don’t let them in. Make sure all windows and doors have screens. Repair any broken screens. Protect yourself when outdoors.

Mosquitoes are most likely to bite between dusk and dawn. If you spend time outdoors during these hours, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends using insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 to prevent mosquito bites. DEET and Picaridin provide longer-lasting protection than other repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.

Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child.

Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash treated skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.

Do you have stagnant water on your property? Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water (water which is not in motion or has no flow). If you have areas of stagnant water around your home such as on top of your swimming pool cover, rain barrel, or bird bath, you may want to consider treating the water with mosquito dunks.

Mosquito dunks contain bacteria that kill mosquito larvae. They do not kill adult mosquitoes. Mosquito dunks can be purchased at your local hardware store. The dunks can only be used for containerized standing water and cannot be used for any type of flowing water such as a stream or pond. Please follow the manufacturer’s directions on the package for safe and proper use.