Health Department Offers Tips to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus

(BINGHAMTON, NY) - Although the temperatures are dipping slightly, summer is still here, and with it comes the possibility of West Nile Virus (WNV). Currently there are no confirmed WNV cases in Broome County. The Broome County Health Department offers the following tips that can help reduce the risk of mosquito exposure and provide protection against WNV.

“Our Health Department continuously monitors threats to our residents,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “It is important that Broome County is proactive in warding off the dangers of disease and virus, and we must all take steps to keep ourselves and our families safe from health threats.”

“Although Broome County doesn’t have any confirmed cases of WNV, we are susceptible to the conditions in which the virus can be acquired and spread,” said Broome County Health Department Director Claudia A. Edwards. “Taking the steps to protect our community is paramount to the overall health and wellbeing of Broome County residents.”
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the more active ingredient a repellent contains the longer it can protect you from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of active ingredient in a repellent does not mean that your protection is better—just that it will last longer. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors.
    • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
    • Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. Do not apply repellent to skin under your clothing.
  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
  • Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.
  • At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
  • Report abandon swimming pools or tire piles to your local code enforcement office.
  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
  • Contact your local municipality for tire collection events.
Mosquitoes can be infected with WNV by feeding on an infected bird that carries the virus in their blood. The virus lives in the salivary glands of the mosquito and is transmitted when the mosquito bites a person or an animal.
Most people that become infected with WNV will not show any symptoms. Some will develop West Nile fever exhibiting flu like symptoms such as headache, fever, body ache, rash and swollen lymph glands. A small percentage, less than 1%, will develop severe illness that causes encephalitis. Individuals aged 50 and above are at highest risk for serious illness. The majority of individuals that are exposed to the virus will develop lifelong immunity.
To report ill or dead Crows residents can contact Dr. Anne Clark, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, at Binghamton University by e-mail No Crows will be collected.  Please provide the location of the Crow in your e-mail.
The Broome County Health Department is not taking dead/ill bird reports at this time and will not dispose of dead or ill birds.
To dispose of a dead bird, wear gloves and/or use a shovel to bury or place the bird in the garbage.
For more information on WNV visit the Broome County Health Department website at or the New York State Department of Health website at


08/23/2012 - 12:43pm