by Nicole Reitz
Senator Patty Ritchie announced at a news conference Tuesday the availability of a new tool to help combat the spread of the EEE virus.
Free samples of larvicide treatments are available to 2,700 homeowners in six counties who have been impacted by EEE, including Oswego County.
The free treatments, packets of a locally produced larvicide, can be used to treat standing water. The product can be used in small pools, ornamental ponds, bird baths and more.
The treatment is available to homeowners through a partnership with the Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Local residents can pick them up at the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District office, which is located at 3105 N.Y.S. Rte. 3 in Volney. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The larvicide program is a part of a broader effort to educate the public and help prevent EEE. Since there is not yet a vaccine for EEE, the best form of protection is to avoid getting bit.
Residents are advised of using insect repellent when going outdoors and be aware of peak mosquito hours. For many species of mosquitos, dawn and dusk are peak biting times.
During these times of day, wear protective clothing or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times. Also examine your home for tears and holes in window and door screens. Intact screen windows and doors can keep mosquitos from entering the home.
Farmers should especially take special precautions to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes. Farmers should ask their veterinarian about vaccinating their horses. Dozens of horses have succumbed to the virus in the six counties included in the prevention program.
While EEE is a mosquito-born virus that mostly affects horses and other livestock, it has killed five people in Oswego and Onondaga counties since 1971. The latest death is that of four-year-old Maggie Sue Wilcox of New Haven.
Ritchie said that the EEE virus is a state priority.
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