Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Home! Help Prevent West Nile Virus-Remove Standing Water Where Mosquitoes Breed





 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein


Date July 16, 2014                            

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925


Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Home

Help Prevent West Nile Virus; Remove Standing Water Where Mosquitoes Breed 

ERIE COUNTY, NY—The Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) reminds residents of the need to remove standing water from their property to eliminate stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes can breed.  


“While there has already been one confirmed case of West Nile Virus (“WNV”) in New York State in 2014, we have not had a confirmed human case of WNV in Erie County since October 2012,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.  “We want to extend that record and ask all Erie County residents to help assist in prevention efforts.”


WNV is a mosquito-borne illness that is transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, the majority of individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. Approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1% of infected people will develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness. 

Burstein continued: “Mosquitoes are a summertime nuisance, but by taking a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk of being bitten and possibly contracting a mosquito-borne disease like WNV. In 2013, our Division of Environmental Health identified 17 mosquito pools in Erie County that tested positive for WNV. While no pools have tested positive so far in 2014, we still have several months of warm weather where WNV could be identified in mosquitoes, so it is always a good idea to be proactive in addressing potential problems.”

Follow these recommendations to keep yourself and your family healthy:

  • Eliminate local mosquito breeding sites. Mosquitoes develop in standing water. Reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Avoid mosquito bites by limiting outdoor activities at times of high mosquito activity, such as dusk and dawn.
    • Do not leave standing water for longer than 2 days before dumping it out
    • Change the water in birdbaths and planter bases every 2 days
    • Clean clogged gutters to allow rainfall to drain freely
  • Mosquito traps, electrocutors (bug zappers), ultrasonic repellers, and other devices marketed to prevent mosquitoes from biting people are NOT effective and should not be relied on to reduce mosquito bites (so save your money!)
  • Use barriers to protect skin. (mosquito nets/screens for baby strollers/playpens, long sleeves/pants, socks/shoes, hats)
  • Discourage mosquitoes from biting. Mosquitoes are attracted to people by odors on the skin and by carbon dioxide from the breath.
  • Use an effective repellantduring outdoor activities
    • Most effective repellants contain 25-30% DEET
      • Products with lower concentrations of DEET will need to be reapplied more often
      • Do not use on cuts, irritated or infected skin
      • Spray on skin & then rub it in
      • Do not spray on face; spray on hands then rub it on your face
      • Reapply after sweating or getting wet

In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) concluded that appropriate use of DEET at concentrations of up to 30% posed no significant risk to children or adults but that DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age because of increased skin permeability.

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For more information:

Erie County Department of Health –

New York State Department of Health --

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention --

American Academy of Pediatrics --

Frequently Requested



Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations