Health officials in New York and Massachusetts have confirmed that the potentially life-threatening Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus has been found in mosquitoes. Two mosquitoes taken from a field station at Toad Harbor Swamp in West Monroe tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed EEE-carrying mosquitoes were identified for the first time this summer in mid-July, The Boston Globe reported. The bugs were found in the towns of Easton, Freetown, and Fairhaven, as well as the city of New Bedford.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang told CNY Central: “We are working closely with state Department of Health to monitor mosquito activity around the county and will take actions as deemed appropriate based on consultations with state and regional partners.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EEE virus can cause a rare brain infection called encephalitis. Around 30 percent of individuals who catch the virus die. Those that survive can suffer mild to severe brain damage.
Each year, between 5 to 10 cases are reported the CDC states. These mostly occur during the late spring to fall in subtropical areas, such as the Gulf States. The insects lay their eggs in or around water, so EEE-carrying mosquitoes most often lurk in swampy areas. –Newsweek
Once a person is bitten and becomes infected with EEE, it can take between four to 10 days for symptoms of the virus involving encephalitis (EEEV) to emerge. These symptoms include headache, chills, vomiting and a high fever. They may then feel disorientated, experience seizures and fall into a coma. Doctors can diagnose EEE with a blood test.
As there is no vaccine or drug to prevent EEE, Huang told CNY Central residents of Oswego County heading outdoors should use bug spray and insect repellents, and avoid going out between dusk and dawn. The best way to prevent from contracting EEE is to make sure you don’t get bitten.
If you have a lot of mosquitoes in your area, measures should be taken to help prevent the reproduction of the bugs. This advice also helps reduce infections from mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus and Zika. You should dispose of used tires; drill holes in recycling containers left outdoors and ensure your roof gutters are draining properly.