New York State To Raise Awareness About West Nile Virus And Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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West Nile Virus And Eastern Equine Encephalitis

New York State raises awareness about West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis and advised what New Yorkers can do to protect against mosquito-borne illness.

In 2006, there were 23 cases of West Nile Virus reported in New York State, including four deaths. This is a decline from the 38 cases and four deaths reported in 2005. There were two fatal human cases of EEE reported in 1971 and 1983.

"Since 2000, when the West Nile Virus was first discovered in New York State, we have led the nation in our surveillance efforts to identify and fight West Nile Virus," said Commissioner Daines. "Local mosquito surveillance and public health education efforts conducted by the Onondaga County Health Department have proven to be one of the most comprehensive prevention programs in the state for mosquito-borne disease."

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The Cicero Swamp in Onondaga County was selected to highlight the state's surveillance efforts because EEE has been detected in mosquito pools for the past four years. The presence of the EEE virus in the environment is of particular interest to scientists because of its high fatality rate for both humans and horses. There have been several reports of EEE cases in horses over the past several years, some that have resulted in death, from surrounding counties.

Cynthia B. Morrow, M.D., Commissioner of Health, Onondoga County Health Department, welcomed Dr. Daines on his first visit as State Health Commissioner to Onondaga County. "We look forward to working together as partners to improve the health of all New Yorkers," Dr. Morrow said.

Last year, more than 6,900 mosquito pools from throughout the state were submitted to the Department's Wadsworth Laboratory for testing. Testing of these pools identified the presence of West Nile Virus and other arboviruses in many areas of the state.

In addition to mosquito surveillance, the state and local health departments collect reports of dead birds. Dead birds, particularly crows, continue to be an excellent indicator of the presence of West Nile virus. The State toll-free number to report dead birds is 1-866-537-BIRD. Only a limited number of birds will be collected for testing.

The following precautions can decrease the risk of mosquito bites, and reduce mosquito breeding sites:

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