EEE / Mosquito Update from Glastonbury Health Department
Connecticut and other New England States are experiencing an active season for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). While Connecticut has reported two human cases of EEE this year, including a recent death, Glastonbury has not identified any disease-causing mosquitoes to date. The Town has a mosquito trapping station on Tryon Street that is monitored regularly during the mosquito season. Mosquitoes will continue to be tested and updates made available to the public as applicable.
EEE is a rare disease caused by a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE virus is one of a group of mosquito-transmitted viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Disease transmission does not occur directly from person to person. In the United States, approximately 5-10 EEE cases are reported annually.
Persons over the age of 50 and younger than age 15 are at greatest risk of severe disease (encephalitis) following infection. It takes 4 to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito to develop symptoms of EEE. There is no specific treatment for EEE. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and no effective anti-viral drugs have been discovered. Pesticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is unlikely to be effective at this time of year when it is cooler at night and mosquitoes are less active.
Preventing Mosquito Bites and Infection
The most effective way to prevent infection from Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, or other mosquito-borne illness, is to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors. Always follow the product label instructions when using insect repellent.
Visiting an area where virus activity has been identified increases the risk of infection with EEE, especially to persons who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in these areas. Residents are advised against unnecessary trips to mosquito breeding grounds and marshes as the mosquitoes that transmit EEE virus are associated with freshwater swamps and are most active at dusk and dawn. Overnight camping or other extended outdoor exposure in freshwater swamps should also be avoided. Despite the cooler, fall temperatures that have started to work their way into the season, mosquitoes continue to be active until the first heavy frost and residents should continue to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.
Horses, llamas, and alpacas are also known to be susceptible to EEE. Additionally, emus, ostriches, and some game birds (e.g. pheasants and quail) are susceptible to EEE as well. There is an approved vaccine for use in horses, which should be discussed with your veterinarian. Insect repellents recommended for humans are not approved for use on your pets. Talk with your veterinarian for advice about the appropriate product for use on your pet.
To view updates on mosquitoes and EEE in New England, please click on the web resources below: