CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Cattaraugus County Health Department is spraying down the Southwestern portion of the county this week, to help kill the population of mosquitoes carrying the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.
The virus, while rare, is often fatal when contracted. It causes inflammation of the brain, sometimes without showing any symptoms.
Spraying will begin after 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, weather permitting, and will last four days. Spraying will be done nightly from 6:00-10:00 P.M.
The county will be spraying at least a portion of a number of towns:
- The entire Town of Conewango,
- Portions of:
- Leon (west of route 62 from the Conewango town line to Gulf Road)
- Napoli (all except approximately 2 miles from the Little Valley town line)
- Coldspring (all within 2.5 miles south of Napoli town line and 2 miles from the Salamanca town line)
- Randolph (all within 2.5 miles south of the Conewango town line)
Residents of anywhere being sprayed should have already been notified. Residents living in the spray area are being asked to take the following safety precautions:
- Stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed for the duration of the spray
- Keep pets indoors
- Close vents on window air conditioners, so outside air doesn't enter the home for one hour
- Remove outdoor toys, outdoor furniture, and clothing from the clothesline. Items left outdoors should be washed thoroughly with soap and water before using
- If you are driving through an area while spraying takes place, close your car windows and vents
- Cover gardens, and rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking or eating
The county also says while the spraying is meant to control the population of EEE-carrying mosquitoes it is not perfect, and residents should always take precaution when going outside:
- Use insect repellents when participating in outdoor activities
- Those that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective
- Repellents which contain permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin
- Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes
- Whenever possible, limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and reduce mosquitoes around the home
Residents can also take extra measures to curb mosquito breeding grounds around the home:
- Repair or replace window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
- Dispose of old tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site and should be properly disposed of or neatly stacked and covered to prevent the accumulation of water
- Reduce or eliminate all standing water
- Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flowerpots, and similar water-holding containers
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling or other containers that are kept outdoors
- Clear roof gutters and be sure they drain properly
- Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain pool covers
- Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week
- Remove leaf debris from yards and gardens and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
For more information about protecting your family against mosquitoes, call the Cattaraugus County Health Department at 701-3386 or visit the New York State Department of Health website. New York State also has a dedicated site with more information on EEE, you can find that here.