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Health Departments partner to protect against EEE
Mosquito season is almost here and area health departments are looking to prevent the spread of diseases such as EEE and the West Nile Virus. Health departments from the state are teaming up to educate the public. Our Iris St. Meran tells us what they want you to know to protect yourself.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- There have been three human deaths from EEE in the past three years in Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties combined. Their health departments want to get the word out about the work they do and prevention methods that can be used. They started by educating the media.
"We need your help with regards to getting that message out," said Bryon Backenson of the New York State Department of Health.
The message begins with the process of trapping mosquitoes, processing them to identify what kind they are and lab testing which determines if they're carrying the disease. Next is research. Researchers participate in a mark, release and recapture project where they learn travel patterns.
Oswego County Associate Public Health Sanitarian Evan Walsh said, "If they go out, where they go out to, how fast they get out, when they go out, if they move from here to other counties."
This can help counties decide if and where to spray if there are infected mosquitoes.
"We also look at the mosquito population. If it's very dense that's another piece of information that we would use. Another thing would be the time of year. If early in the season, if in July and August we're going to be more likely to know more mosquitoes are coming," said Onondaga County Environmental Health Assessment Director Lisa Letteney.
There are some things you can do to protect yourself against mosquito bites like wearing light colored clothing and long sleeves. Products containing DEET also help. One that has 10 percent DEET that can protect you up to two to three hours.
New York State Health Department Public Health Educator Mark VanDeusen said, said, "Thirty percent DEET is good for about five hours. And you really don't need to use a concentration higher than that. There's others that are 100 percent DEET, but there's very few situations around here when you're going to need something like that."
He also says it should not be used on infants younger than two-months-old and for small children, DEET that is 30 percent or less is recommended. Also removing standing water can stop these insects from coming around your home in the first place.
If you want to learn about the work being done in your particular county visit: