County’s mosquito surveillance program underway

by Carol Thompson

The 2012 mosquito season is in full swing and the Oswego County Health Department has begun its surveillance program.

Toad Harbor and Big Bay swamp areas are usually the first places the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus appears each summer. However, last year it appeared in a few places around Oswego County at the same time.

“We have doubled the number of mosquito trap sites over a greater area of the county due to the high level of EEE activity over the last few years,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, public health director of the Oswego County Health Department. “In addition, the state’s laboratory will allow a greater number of mosquito samples to be sent in for testing.”

Training sessions were held May 21 at Toad Harbor Swamp.

Representatives from the New York State Department of Health and Oneida and Madison counties joined Oswego County staff in the training sessions.

Participants learned about how mosquitoes are trapped, tracked and tested for diseases such as EEE and West Nile Virus.

“We collect samples of mosquitoes from a number of trap sites around the county,” said Evan Walsh, associate public health sanitarian for the Oswego County Health Department. “Most traps are set in or near hardwood swamp areas because they are a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially the ‘Culiseta melanura’ mosquito, which is the main carrier of EEE.”

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