Mosquitoes still posing serious health risk

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services is continuing to urge residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and protect themselves from potential exposure to the mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The DHHS, Public Health Division, has received notification from the New York State Department of Health Arbovirus Laboratory of additional EEE virus positive mosquito pools in the Conewango Creek Valley in the Towns of Kiantone and Carroll.

The declaration of an Imminent Public Health Threat related to mosquito-borne illness remains in effect in Chautauqua County through Oct. 31. DHHS learned that five more mosquito pools have been confirmed positive for the EEE virus and two of those pools contained “bridge vectors” which are mosquitoes that bite both birds and mammals, including humans.

“I cannot emphasize enough how critically important it is for everyone in the County to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito bites,” said Christine Schuyler, Director of CCDHHS. “We’ve already lost a horse to this rare but lethal virus; I truly do not want to see any person contract this virus. Our county has by far the highest amount of EEE activity in New York State and has had the only equine death in the state this year; this is very serious,” Schuyler added

People are urged to use insect repellent properly. Those with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are most effective.

People should also limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn which is the peak mosquito biting time.