Officials in Cattaraugus county are encouraging people to cover their vegetables this week but it has nothing to do with the cooler temperatures. 

If you live in the Southwestern portion of the county, you might see the health department spraying this week.  The goal is to kill a population of mosquitos that are carrying what they call the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.  The move comes after a horse died in Conewango from EEE and West Nile Virus.

Is EEE dangerous for people?

According to a website from New York State that is dedicated to the EEE virus, it is extremely rare to contract.  However, if people do get it, it can cause brain inflammation and often shows no symptoms.

How do you get it?

It is transmitted through bites from mosquitos that that feed on both birds and mammals.

Can we do anything to protect ourselves from it?

The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos that are infected.  There is no vaccine from the virus.  So the best option is to try to kill the mosquito population that carries it.

When and where will the spraying take place?

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin on Wednesday at 6pm and continue for the next 4 days.  The entire town of Conewango will be sprayed and a number of neighboring towns including Leon, Napoli, Coldspring, and Randolph.  All residents that will be affected by the spray should have gotten a notice by now.

Do we need to do anything while they spray?

Residents are asked to:

  • 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

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