Mosquitoes in Erie County Test Positive for West Nile Virus; Residents Reminded to Eliminate Standing Water Where Mosquitoes Breed

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from Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein

July 8, 2015


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

Phone: (716) 858-4941 / Mobile: (716) 253-3925


 Residents Reminded to Eliminate Standing Water Where Mosquitoes Breed 

ERIE COUNTY, NY—The first positive test in 2015 for West Nile Virus (“WNV”) has been identified in a mosquito pool in Erie County. The New York State Department of Health regularly conducts the testing and identified this recent case.West Nile virus graphic


“We have not had a confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Erie County since October 2012 and we want to ensure it stays that way,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. “I want to remind residents to minimize exposure to mosquitoes by limiting outdoor activities at times of high mosquito activity, such as dusk and dawn. When going outdoors, it is important to cover as much as skin as possible with clothing and to use an effective repellant that contains 25 to 30% DEET on exposed skin.” 



Dr. Burstein will be available in her office in the Rath Building:

Thursday, July 9th, from 11 am – 12 noon

for interviews concerning West Nile Virus in Erie County.


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 one in five 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.

“Mosquitoes are an unavoidable summertime nuisance. By taking a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk of being bitten and possibly contracting a mosquito-borne disease like WNV,” Dr. Burstein said.


Recommendations to keep you 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 during the times of high mosquito activity at dusk and dawn.
    • Do not leave standing water for longer than two days before dumping it out;
    • Change the water in birdbaths and planter bases every two days; and
    • Clean clogged gutters to allow rainfall to drain freely.
  • Mosquito traps, electrocutors (bug zappers), ultrasonic repellers, and similar devices purported to prevent mosquitoes from biting people are not effective. Do not rely on them to reduce mosquito bites as they are a waste of money.
  • Use barriers to protect skin, like mosquito nets/screens for baby strollers/playpens, long sleeves/pants, socks/shoes, and 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 repellant with a concentration of 25 to 30% DEET during outdoor activities.
    • 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;
    • Products with lower concentrations of DEET need to be reapplied more often; and
    • Do not use on cuts, irritated, or infected skin.


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