STONINGTON, CT – Mosquitoes trapped in Stonington, North Stonington and Voluntown tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis or EEE. And those found with the virus are those known to bite humans, health officials said.
As a result, residents in all three cities are advised to avoid outdoor activities "one hour before one hour after dawn and dusk," according to a statement from the Ledge Light Health District Health Director. like Uncas Health District.
"EEE is a rare but serious disease caused by a mosquito-borne virus. Historically, the virus was found in trapped mosquitoes in Connecticut, but only one person died from EEE," said Ledge's director of health Light Stephen Mansfield.
In Stonington, mosquitoes trapped on Barn Island and near Stonington High School are testing positive; in the last three mosquitoes, a large number compared to the others, tested positive for the virus. In North Stonington, in an area along the long Pawcatuck River and near Exit 93 of I-95, tested positive. In Voluntown, on August 21
The virus was also detected in mosquitoes caught in Chester, Hadam, Hampton, and Killingworth.
The Centers for Disease Control says that while rare, the virus in humans and the subsequent disease control the range from having no symptoms to far worse.
The CDC says from the time of an infectious mosquito a bite to a disease can range from four to 10 days and can lead to systemic or encephalic, "including brain swelling, hereafter referred to as EEE". Symptoms include chills, fever, fatigue, tremor, confusion, and joint and muscle pain. The disease can last for one to two weeks if there is no "affecting the central nervous system", which would be the worst case with this virus and include brain inflammation, encephalitis, which can lead to coma, convulsions and death.
So far, there have been an average of about six cases a year in the US. The first case of EEE with people in Connecticut was in 2013. The person died.
But now in Massachusetts there are four confirmed cases of people who are associated with the virus. Here's the doctor at Tuft Medical Center talking about the disease.
There is no vaccine to prevent EEE. But there are many ways to avoid being bitten, including staying indoors.
Additional precautions to avoid mosquito bites include:
• Make sure that the door and window screens are tightly sealed and in good repair.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves while you are outdoors. The garment material should be tightly woven.
• Use a mosquito net if you sleep outdoors.
• Consider using mosquito repellents when outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Lemon eucalyptus oil is also effective for short periods of exposure.
• When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, on wounds or irritated skin, hands of children or infants under 2 months of age. Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:
• Discard containers holding water, such as ceramic pots, used tires and tire swings, clogged gutters.
• Drill holes in the bottom of containers, such as those used for recycling.
• Change the water in the bird baths weekly.
• Clean and chlorinated pools and roof pools when not in use.
• Use landscaping to remove areas where water can collect in your property.