Modified: September 1, 2022 12:54pm
UNTIL FREEZING WEATHER ARRIVES, FIGHT MOSQUITOES ONE YARD AT A TIME
West Nile virus detected in surveillance pools; Erie County residents can reduce mosquito populations and take steps to prevent itchy bites
ERIE COUNTY, NY— As summer draws to a close, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is reminding residents about ways to reduce mosquito populations in their neighborhood and how to prevent mosquito bites. The reason? West Nile virus, one of many arboviruses that can infect humans and cause serious disease, has been detected in mosquitoes collected in recent surveillance pool testing within Erie County.
“Mosquitoes don’t stay within any individual town or village border, so we are making the educated assumption that mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus are in all municipalities,” said Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi, who manages Erie County’s Vector Control Program. “Residents should take the appropriate precautions to fight mosquitoes in their own yards, and protect their skin from mosquito bites.”
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not have symptoms of illness. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms like headache, body pains, vomiting or rash.
One in 150 people infected with West Nile virus develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system.
Fatigue and weakness from a West Nile virus infection can last for weeks or months.
ECDOH is providing a printable version of its “Fight Mosquitos One Yard at a Time” poster, showing simple steps to limit places in yards where mosquitos can lay their eggs and multiply.
Mosquitoes only need as little as a bottle cap-full of water to lay eggs that will hatch as biting insects in about 48 hours. Stagnant pools and standing water can lead to substantial numbers of mosquitoes in a neighborhood. The ECDOH Division of Environmental Health and its Vector Control Program is continuing to respond to complaints about stagnant pools. For more information on this program, call (716) 961-6800.
It is important to use EPA-registered insect repellents to prevent mosquito bites. Follow label instructions and safety precautions, and re-apply as recommended. Products labelled as “organic” or “all natural” may not have data to show that they are safe or effective at preventing mosquito bites.
Take steps to eliminate all standing water from property.
- Keep pool cover free of standing water.
- Maintain pools by chlorinating and filtering.
- Maintain ornamental ponds. (Stock with fish. Bubblers and fountains prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.)
- Clean clogged house gutters of debris.
- Change water in birdbath and planter bases every 1-3 days.
- Turn over containers, buckets, and wading pools.
- Remove un-rimmed tires from property.
- Check window and door screens and repair if needed.
- Properly grade property to prevent standing water.
- Maintain drainage ditches and keep clear of any obstructions.
- Properly cut and maintain all vegetation on property.
Even as cooler weather takes hold, to reduce the risk of mosquito bites when outdoors, residents should:
- Wear long sleeve shirt and long pants
- Consider insect repellant and use according to label directions
- Limit outdoor activities; mosquitoes are most active at dusk and at dawn
- Stay away from brush, shrubs, and wooded areas where mosquitoes may live.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile
- Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), West Nile virus: https://www3.erie.gov/health/rabies-rodents-vectors-arboviruses-and-related-information
- ECDOH, Fight West Nile virus, Printable Flyer: https://www3.erie.gov/health/sites/www3.erie.gov.health/files/2022-06/fightwestnilevirus.pdf
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Find the repellent right for you: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you