Health Department urges Vermonters to take action to fight the bite.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus has been detected in a mosquito pool collected on August 1 from the Whiting area in southern Addison County. This is the first detection of EEE in mosquitoes this season. West Nile virus was detected for the first time this season in mosquito pools collected in Addison County in early July, and since then in Rutland and Franklin counties.
Both viruses are spread to humans and some animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. No human or animal cases have been reported to date in 2013.
“These detections confirm that both mosquito-borne viruses are circulating in Vermont again this year,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “EEE can be a very serious disease and, although the risk of getting infected is low, it’s not zero. No matter where you live – enjoy the outdoors but take precautions to fight the bite.”
EEE was detected in mosquitoes for the first time in the state in 2012, and two people became ill and died. Since that detection, significant EEE activity has only been detected in the southern Addison and northern Rutland county region, but it’s likely the virus is present in other parts of the state. West Nile virus has been documented since 2000, and over the years has been detected in every county in Vermont.
Take Action to Fight the Bite:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside when mosquitoes are active.
• Use insect repellents that are labeled as being effective against mosquitoes. Effective ingredients are DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. For more information about choosing a repellent, go to healthvermont.gov and search for ‘insect repellent’
• Cover baby carriages or outdoor play spaces with mosquito netting.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Take extra precautions at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active and biting.
• Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water and draining areas where water can pool, such as rain gutters, wading pools and old tires.
The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets recommends that owners of West Nile virus and EEE-susceptible species, including horses, camelids (llamas and alpacas) talk with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals. West Nile virus and EEE can cause severe neurologic disease (incoordination, seizures and inability to stand) in horses and camelids and can result in high mortality rates in those species. Emus are susceptible to EEE and can be vaccinated with the equine vaccine.
For extensive information about EEE and West Nile virus and mosquito pool and veterinary testing results: www.healthvermont.gov
Media Contacts: Vermont Department of Health, 802-863-7281 (7280 after hours); Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, 802-828-2179