EEE Virus Detected in Mosquitoes

EEE/West Nile Virus Information Line: 800-913-1139

Vermont Department of Health

  News Release: July 1, 2014

 

Media Contact:
Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – There are few guarantees in life, but you can be sure that mosquitoes will attend all July 4th festivities in Vermont. Anybody celebrating at outdoor parades, cookouts and fireworks can supply a delicious meal to a hungry mosquito.

Poster: Don't Let Them Bug YouThese tiny pests are mostly an annoyance, but certain types of mosquitoes can spread viral diseases. During the past few summers, mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) have been found in Vermont.

EEE virus has already been detected this year in one batch of mosquitoes collected in the town of Grand Isle. The mosquitoes were trapped on June 17 making this the earliest detection of the virus in the Northeast. This is also the first time EEE virus has been detected in Grand Isle County, although two horses from Franklin County and a batch of mosquitoes in Milton tested positive for the virus in 2013. So far this year, more than 300 batches of mosquitoes have been tested with just one positive result.

“This reminds us that although the mosquitoes have been biting for weeks, the risk for getting sick starts to increase right about now,” said Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist.

Both WNV and EEE virus have been detected in many of Vermont’s counties. The Health Department encourages Vermonters to take simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

No Matter Where You Live – Enjoy the Outdoors, but Fight the Bite!

Symptoms of WNV and EEE

Most people who are infected with WNV will not become ill, and this may be true for EEE as well. Those who become ill with either WNV or EEE may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, joint and body aches. Symptoms typically last one or two weeks, and recovery can be complete. However, both viruses have the potential to invade the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and cause more serious illness. Symptoms of severe disease include fever, intense headache, weakness, poor coordination, irritability, drowsiness and mental status changes. About one-third of people who develop severe EEE disease will die, and many who recover are left with disabilities. Fortunately, severe EEE is rare.

EEE/WNV Information Line

The Health Department is offering a WNV/EEE information line to answer questions from the public. The phone line – 800-913-1139 – will be operational from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on West Nile Virus and EEE and to view EEE risk maps (showing towns with active mosquito surveillance and to find out the latest surveillance results) visit the Vermont Department of Health’s website at healthvermont.gov.

For more information about mosquitoes, visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/plant_pest/mosquitoes_ticks/mosquitoes

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For health news, alerts and information - visit healthvermont.gov
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