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West Nile Virus detected in area mosquitoes

West Nile Virus has been discovered in Erie County for the first time this year. Mosquitoes, tested from pools under surveillance in the Town of Amherst, have tested positive for the virus. No human cases have been reported. 

Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County's Health Commissioner, says it's not unusual for West Nile to arrive this time of year. 

"This is not unexpected. We see West Nile Virus in our community every year in terms of our mosquito population. It just reinforces that we need to be vigilant about protecting ourselves against mosquito bites," Bustein says.

The commissioner is urging residents take precautions to avoid the virus. That includes eliminating or cleaning standing pools of water on residential property where mosquitoes like to breed, wearing long-sleeved clothing at peak mosquito times like sunrise and sunset, and using insect repellent containing the ingredient DEET.

A hefty dose of repellent is recommended, Burstein says. Adults should use a repellent containing 30-50% DEET and children over two months old should use a dose between 10-30%. Children under two months of age should not use repellents due to possible toxicity.

Burstein says residents should assume the virus has arrived throughout the region.

"If it's in one place in Erie County, we have to assume it's throughout Erie County," she says.

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