PDDH Update on Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Pomperaug District Department of Health District (PDDH) is advising residents to continue general personal preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites.
For residents of towns that make up the Pomperaug Health District – Southbury, Woodbury, and Oxford, the risk of acquiring any mosquito-borne disease, whether it be Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) or West Nile Virus, is very low at this time of year.
On August 26, 2019, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) found EEE virus in mosquitoes that bite only birds at their trap site in Shelton, which is near a swamp. Subsequent tests have been negative for EEE virus. A nearby testing site in Newtown has had no positive EEE mosquito’s this year.
PDDH Director of Health Neal Lustig remains in close contact and consultation with the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, which is a collaborative effort involving the CAES, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture, and the UCONN Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. These agencies are responsible for monitoring the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases in our state.
From a public health standpoint, PDDH and the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program recommend that residents take personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites until the first hard frost of the fall. It is not necessary for residents in our District to cancel or limit activity around dusk or dawn. Spraying pesticides to reduce mosquito populations is not likely to be effective at this time of year.
According to Director of Health Neal Lustig, “Connecticut, particularly the southeastern part of the state, and our neighboring states in New England, are seeing an unusually high presence of EEE detected this year; however, I want to remind residents that the risk of transmission in the western part of the state remains very low. Even though the risk is low, residents should still practice basic precautions to avoid being bit.”
Residents are advised to avoid unnecessary trips into marshes and freshwater swamps as these are typically breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus; these mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Overnight camping or other substantial outdoor exposure in freshwater swamps should be avoided. Even though the temperatures are getting cooler, mosquitoes continue to be active until the first heavy frost and residents should continue to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.
PDDH recommends that residents continue to take the following basic precautions:
• Use insect repellent, according to directions, when outdoors
• Cover up: wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors
• Keep mosquitoes outside by using window and door screens that are tight-fitting and in good repair
• Remove items that may lead to standing/stagnant water around your home. Mosquitoes can breed in water that collects in pools and ditches, clogged gutters, old tires, wheelbarrows, wading pools, etc.
• Do not camp overnight near freshwater swamps; use mosquito netting on tents