WEST MONROE — Aerial insecticide spraying is scheduled for Monday evening in the towns of Hastings, West Monroe and Constantia in an effort to reduce the mosquito population in the area.
The Oswego County Health Department announced plans to conduct aerial spraying over roughly 10,000 acres in the eastern portion of the county. Officials say the Aug. 20 aerial spraying would target mosquito populations known to carrying the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.
Several recent mosquito samples collected from the Toad Harbor Swamp in West Monroe have tested positive for EEE this month, and health officials confirmed earlier this week a horse in West Monroe died of the virus Aug. 9.
The insecticide spraying is planned for the area north of the Oneida Lake shoreline to state Route 49, and east of U.S. Route 11 in Central Square to the village of Constantia border. Officials noted the spraying would not include the village of Constantia, and the pesticide would not be applied over the open waters of Oneida Lake.
Aerial spraying is dependent on weather conditions, and would begin after 6 p.m., according to the county Health Department.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said it is still imperative that people across the county take steps to protect themselves against mosquitoes. Aerial spraying can be effective in reducing mosquito populations, officials said, but it does not eliminate all mosquitoes.
“Aerial spraying is a temporary control measure,” said Huang. “It is still very important for people throughout Oswego County to continue their efforts to prevent exposure to mosquitoes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), EEE is a rare illness in humans with only a few cases reported in the U.S. each year, but the virus is “one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases” in the nation. Approximately 33 percent of infected individuals die from the disease and most survivors experience significant brain damage, according to the CDC.
EEE is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The CDC says most people infected with the virus have no apparent illness, but severe cases involving encephalitis — an inflammation of the brain — start with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness can then progress into disorientation, seizures or coma.
Individuals are encouraged to limit outdoor activities around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors, people should wear long pants, long sleeves, shoes and socks, according to health officials, and eliminate standing water around the home.
County health officials said repellants containing DEET are the most effective, but should be used with caution and according to label instructions. Products containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective.
Residents within the spray area will be notified of the spraying by the Hyper-Reach Broadcast Notification Service through Oswego County’s E911 Emergency Communications Department, and if spraying is postponed due to weather conditions, residents would be notified through the news media and information posted on the Oswego County website at www.oswegocounty.com.
Health officials received the proper permission and the permits required to conduct aerial spraying from the state health and environmental conservation departments.
Kontrol 30-30, which contains permethrin, is the product officials plan to use in the spraying. The county contracted with Lowville-based Duflo Spray-Chemical to apply the pesticide, which will be applied in a diluted form, according to the health department.
The label and safety data sheet (SDS) for Kontrol 30-30, and warnings and fact sheets about permethrin aerial spraying, can be found on the Oswego County website and or be obtained by calling the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3564 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. After 4 p.m., call 315-341-0086.
Residents in the spray area should stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. County officials also advised residents to keep pets indoors, close vents on window air conditioners, and remove outdoor toys, furniture and clothing from clotheslines.
Anyone driving through the area while spraying takes place should close their car windows and vents, officials said.
Any items left outdoors during the spraying should be washed thoroughly with soap and water before using, and officials recommend covering gardens and rinsing homegrown fruits and vegetable thoroughly before cooking or eating.
Oswego County residents who would like to receive community alerts by wireless phones, text messages and TTY may register for the Hyper-Reach Broadcast Notification Service through Oswego County’s E911 Emergency Communications Department at https://secure.hyper-reach.com/comsignup.jsp?id=12481, or they may contact the E911 administrative office at 315-349-8215 or 1-800-679-3911 and request a registration form.
Landline phone customers don’t need to register because the telephone companies that serve Oswego County provide their numbers to the E911 department.