National Mosquito Control Awareness Week; “It’s the Most Itchiest Time of the Year”

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

June 26, 2015

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

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

      National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

“It’s the Most Itchiest Time of the Year”

ERIE COUNTY, NY — In recognition of National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, 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. Photo of Mosquito on tip of finger

"We have not had a confirmed human case of West Nile Virus (“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 against all mosquito-borne diseases.”

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. While no pools have tested positive so far in 2015, we have several months of warm weather ahead. WNV could still be identified in mosquitoes, so it is always a good idea to be proactive in addressing potential problems.”

“Our Environmental Health team has noticed an increase in unmaintained and stagnant swimming pools in Erie County.  In addition to swimming pools, any stagnant water can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitos. Items that collect rain water on your property, such as house gutters, cans, garden pots, used tires, rain barrels, and children’s pools, are ideal receptacles for breeding,” said Peter Tripi, Senior Public Health Sanitarian.Photo of stagnant swimming pool

“Houses that are for sale and are empty or “zombie” houses in the process of foreclosure contribute to the problem. One neglected and untended swimming pool can infest an entire neighborhood with mosquitoes. I urge Erie County residents to be good neighbors and eliminate standing water on their property which is not only a nuisance, but also a public health threat,” concluded Tripi.

Follow these recommendations to keep yourself and your family healthy:

  • Eliminate local mosquito breeding sites. Mosquitoes develop in standing water.
  • Use an effective repellant during outdoor activities. Choose one containing 25-30% DEET.
  • Reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Limit outdoor activities at times of high mosquito activity, such as dusk and dawn.
  • Use barriers to protect skin. Such as: 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.
  • What about a bug zapper? 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!).

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For more information:         

Erie County Department of Health

New York State Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 Mosquito Prevention Poster