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West Nile virus detected in Erie County

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 12:20:20-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is warning residents after the West Nile virus (WNV) was detected in mosquitoes in the county.

The ECDOH conducts routine testing of mosquito breeding areas and found the virus in the county this month. Human cases of WNV are rare, according to the ECDOH. There were 2 local cases in 2018, 1 in 2017 and 12 in 2012.

A WNV infection can be serious and sometimes fatal but typically people experience a mild fever with flu-like symptoms.

The ECDOH recommends limiting outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, covering as much skin as possible when you are outdoors, and using an effective insect repellent.

"In a house or apartment, check screens and repair and holes or tears," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. "Other barriers like nets for strollers and playpens, long sleeves and pants, socks and shoes, and hats are also good protective measures against mosquitoes."

The ECDOH also recommends the following steps to reduce mosquito breeding opportunities -
• Eliminate local mosquito breeding sites – mosquitoes develop in standing water.
• Do not leave standing water for longer than two days before dumping it out. Mosquito eggs can hatch in the amount of water left in a single bottle cap.
• Change water in birdbaths and planter bases every two days.
• Clean clogged gutters to allow rainfall to drain freely.
• Regular swimming pool maintenance.