SULLIVAN, NY — The Madison County Department of Health announced it received its first positive test results this season showing the presence of eastern equine encephalitis in a mosquito tank in the city of Sullivan.
The sample was collected on August 3rd at a trapping site on Smith Ridge Road and positive results were received on August 9th.
According to the health department, the mosquito species is a bird-biting species, but people should take precautions.
“Residents should take steps at home to prevent mosquito bites,” said Eric Faisst, Madison County’s director of public health. “Avoiding mosquito bites is the best thing you can do. Apply insect repellent when outdoors and limit outdoor activity between dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. We live in areas where mosquitoes thrive and cannot be eliminated, so we need to be vigilant with our personal protection.”
The health department is also taking extra precautionary measures, including establishing an additional trapping site and informing the county’s public, veterinarians and horse owners about what they can do to prevent exposure.
Health officials say horses are very sensitive to EEE and human and animal health surveillance are key elements of the department’s surveillance program.
Veterinarians and horse owners are encouraged to contact the health department if a horse is showing signs of neurological disease.
As the district continues to monitor the situation, the public will be notified if additional steps, such as aerial spraying, become necessary.
The Madison County Health Department recommends these steps for residents to take at home:
- Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil and follow label directions.
- Ensure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out, and repair or replace any cracked or punctured screens.
- Eliminate standing water and containers that can hold water from around the home.
- Turn wheelbarrows and paddling pools over when not in use.
- Clean, maintain and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and drain pool covers. Report neglected swimming pools to your local law enforcement officer.
- Change the water in bird baths and horse troughs regularly, at least twice a week.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes if you must be outside.
- Use mosquito nets over infant carriers, cribs and strollers.
Symptoms of EEE include sudden high fever, muscle aches, and headaches of increasing severity. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.