County residents urged to ‘Fight the Bite’ this mosquito season

by Andrew Henderson

New York State Senator Patty Ritchie and the family of Maggie Sue Wilcox are urging Central New York residents to “Fight the Bite” to prevent Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

“With mosquito season right around the corner, it’s more important now than ever that Central New Yorkers take steps to protect themselves from this deadly disease,” said Ritchie.

“The fact is everyone is at risk — and self-defense is the best defense when it comes to safeguarding ourselves against EEE.”

EEE is a rare but serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes.  The disease has claimed five human lives in Central New York, including four-year-old Maggie Sue Wilcox last summer.

Untold numbers of horses and other large farm animals have also died over the past four decades.

The senator has joined forces with health-care officials to spread the word about EEE protection through a new, “Fight the Bite” educational flyer that is being distributed through Oswego County schools.

“The worst thing would be to have nothing positive to come out of our family’s tragedy,” said Donna Wilcox, Maggie Sue’s aunt.

“By continuing to spread the word about EEE, we can help ensure that people in Central New York know how to protect themselves,” she added. More importantly, we can raise awareness so no other family has to go through what we have gone through.”

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