Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Massachusetts and Connecticut
Are You at Risk?
Even though Fall has arrived, we’re still experiencing some warm, humid days across Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. Unfortunately for residents, that means mosquitoes are still out and about, and will likely keep biting through September. Many of us are already aware of and take precautions against West Nile Virus. But there’s another, more virulent illness that residents of the Springfield and Enfield areas should have on their radar: Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. What do you need to know about this potentially deadly virus?
What is EEE?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, is a viral illness that is transmitted to people and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito.
What are the Symptoms of EEE?
Many people infected with EEE will see no symptoms. Of those who do fall ill with a severe case of the virus, the first symptoms will begin 4-10 days after infection. Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and vomiting. This can progress into disorientation, seizures, or a coma. One-third of those infected with a severe case of EEE will likely die. Survivors can be left with mild to severe brain damage.
Who is at Risk for EEE?
EEE is extremely rare, with approximately 5-10 cases reported annually. It’s typically found along the eastern United States. Anyone in an area where the virus is circulating can be infected, though people who work outdoors or live in wooded areas face the highest risk.
How Can You Avoid Getting EEE?
There is no vaccine or preventative drug for EEE, so it’s crucial to avoid or minimize mosquito bites. While warm or humid days are still on the forecast this year, take care to do the following:
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Always follow the directions on the package.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
- Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep kiddie pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
As always, feel free to reach out to Graduate Pest Solutions if you have any questions or want to hear about our mosquito treatment program.