September 3, 2019
MADISON CAUTIONS RESIDENTS TO TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID MOSQUITOES
EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE)-CARRYING MOSQUITOS IDENTIFIED IN 8 SOUTHEASTERN TOWNS.
Madison, CT – The Madison Health Department is advising Madison residents to protect themselves and their children from mosquitoes to reduce the chance of contracting the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. Mosquitoes trapped in 8 towns, primarily located in the southeastern part of the state, have tested positive for the EEE virus this past week. Towns include: Chester, Haddam, Hampton, Killingworth, Madison, North Stonington, Stonington, and Voluntown. Some of the mosquito species that tested positive for the virus are known to bite people and horses. This season, two cases of EEE virus infection have been reported in horses.
Recently on August 30, 2019, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced the state's first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a person over the age of 50 from West Warwick. Although, "no human cases of EEE have been reported in Connecticut since 2013," cautioned DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman Mitchell, "it is important for all Connecticut residents, especially in the southeastern part of the state, to take recommended precautions to avoid mosquito bites seriously".
EEE is a serious but rare illness caused by a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can only acquire the virus by feeding on infected wild birds. In most years, the virus is found only in species of mosquitoes which feed on birds, but occasionally the virus can be passed on to other mosquito species known to bite people and horses. The virus cannot be passed from person to person or from horses to humans. The risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases such as EEE virus usually increases through the late summer and early fall. Mosquitoes are active until the first heavy frost.
The infection can result in one of two types of illness, systemic or encephalitic (involving swelling of the brain). The type of illness will depend on the age of the person and other host factors. It is possible that some people who become infected with EEE may be asymptomatic. Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. Signs and symptoms in encephalitic patients are fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma. No human vaccine against EEE infection or specific antiviral treatment for clinical EEE infections is available.
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should:
- Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
For more information about EEE prevention, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For the latest mosquito test results, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.