Oswego child recovers from West Nile virus

The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Department of Health Laboratory that an Oswego County child was infected with West Nile virus. The child lives in the City of Oswego and is recovering at home.

The Oswego County Health Department was notified by the New York State Department of Health Friday afternoon that the child tested positive for West Nile virus. The virus is carried by mosquitoes and was found earlier this summer in mosquitoes collected in Central Square and New Haven. It is also present in Onondaga County and areas of western and southern New York State.

“The Oswego County Health Department is working with the state Department of Health to investigate the case,” said Jiancheng Huang, public health director of the Oswego County Health Department. “As West Nile activities increase in some parts of the county recently, we need to encourage all citizens to use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites.”

In most people, West Nile virus causes no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems and in rare instances can lead to death. Individuals aged 50 and older are at highest risk for serious illness. It is estimated that 20 percent of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever and have mild symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

The Oswego County Health Department advises people to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by using insect repellents properly. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are the most effective and should be used according to package instructions.

People should also minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn and wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active.

Many mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus lay their eggs in stagnant water around the home.

“Any standing water around the yard can provide a home for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes can then enter houses through broken screens or unscreened windows or doors,” said Huang.

Mosquitoes can breed in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days.

For more information on West Nile virus, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547 or visit the New York State Department of Health’s web site.

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