Erie County residents are being reminded to remove standing water from their properties to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can be carriers of the potentially deadly West Nile Virus.
According to Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, there has already been one confirmed case of West Nile Virus in New York State so far this year, though there have been no confirmed cases of humans carrying the virus in Erie County since October 2012.
“We want to extend that record and ask all Erie County residents to help assist in prevention efforts,” said Burstein.
“Mosquitoes are a summertime nuisance, but by taking a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk of being bitten and possibly contracting a mosquito-borne disease like WNV. In 2013, our Division of Environmental Health identified 17 mosquito pools in Erie County that tested positive for WNV. While no pools have tested positive so far in 2014, we still have several months of warm weather where WNV could be identified in mosquitoes, so it is always a good idea to be proactive in addressing potential problems, Burstein added.
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito. There are no medications to treat or any vaccines to prevent infection. However, the majority of infected individuals will not have any symptoms. About one in five people who test positive for the virus will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than one percent of infected people will develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness.