MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Department of Health has received notification from the New York State Department of Health Arbovirus Laboratory of the first West Nile virus positive mosquito pool in Chautauqua County since August of 2006.
"People should not be alarmed by this news, but these findings do reinforce that there is a continuing threat of West Nile Virus transmission in the county. It is extremely important that people take precautions to keep mosquitoes from biting them and take steps to reduce mosquito breeding sites," said County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler.
Precautions against mosquito bites include wearing socks and shoes, long pants, a long sleeved shirt and applying mosquito repellent containing DEET as recommended by manufacturer's guidelines for proper repellent application during outdoor activities, particularly when around wooded areas and at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Measures to help reduce mosquito breeding sites on your property include:
Disposing of outdoor containers that hold water;
Removing all discarded tires;
Drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors;
Cleaning clogged rain gutters and making sure they continue to work properly;
Turning over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use;
Changing water in birdbaths at least every four days;
Clearing vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds;
Cleaning chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs;
Draining water from pool covers; and
Using landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates;
West Nile virus is a mosquito borne infection that can cause serious illness and occasionally death. Many people who contract West Nile virus do not experience any type of illness; an estimated 20 percent of people who become infected will develop mild symptoms including fever, headache and body aches, and possibly a skin rash or swollen lymph glands. Severe infection causes symptoms such as high fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, headaches, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. People of all ages are at risk for infection but people over age 50 and younger than age 16 are at greatest risk.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or call the Health Department at 1-866-604-6789.