EEE virus prompts aerial spraying in Oneida County

By By CAROLINE GABLE

(WKTV) - For the first time in four years, parts of Oneida County have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. So now the county is doing all they can to prevent the spread of the EEE virus, by spraying a low concentrate of pesticides.

EEE is considered to be one of the most serious mosquito borne viruses, in humans the virus can feel like the flu. Horses are more susceptible to the illness, and it that can prove to be fatal in the animals.

Since August six mosquito pools have been found in Oneida County, but cases have also been found in Oswego County.

Mosquitoes with Triple E often feed on birds but occasionally come into contact with horses and humans. On Tuesday August 24th the county plans to spray 30,000 acres from the Barge Canal at Oneida Lake east to the outlying areas of the City of Rome northwest to Taberg and then back to the Barge Canal at Oneida Lake. The pesticide sprayings will take place between 6 p.m. and dusk.

While the spray is a low concentration the Oneida County Health Department recommends staying in doors, covering gardens, and removing outdoor toys.

New Hartford Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Frank Mondi says local incidents of EEE are fairly rare, "Its a condition that's present every year and especially when the mosquito population is high, they (mosquitoes) are feeding on other things besides birds. Incidents in humans are very low, statistics are one to ten cases every year in horses there are a few more cases up and down the eastern sea board," said Mondi.

There are no recent reports of human deaths in Oneida County from EEE, and the last horse to fatally contract it was back in 2006.

Many horses at the Oriskany Creek Horse Farm have been vaccinated for the virus, but there is no vaccination for humans.

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