Voluntown High Risk Area for EEE Virus- UPDATES

For Immediate Release September 16, 2019

For More Information: Av Harris av.harris@ct.gov (860) 509-7270

DPH ANNOUNCES FIRST HUMAN CASE OF EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IDENTIFIED IN CONNECTICUT THIS SEASON

RESIDENTS ARE ADVISED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN BY AVOIDING OUTDOOR ACTIVITY FROM DUSK TO DAWN, WHEN MOSQUITOES ARE
MOST ACTIVE

Hartford –Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell today is announcing that an adult resident of the town of East Lyme has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This is the first human case of EEE identified in Connecticut this season. The patient became ill during the last week of August with encephalitis and remains hospitalized. Laboratory tests, which were completed today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Laboratory in Ft. Collins, Colorado, confirmed the presence of antibodies to the virus that causes EEE.

“EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages,” cautionedDPH Commissioner Renée Coleman Mitchell. “Using insect repellent, covering bare skin and
avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes.”

The EEE virus has been identified in mosquitoes in 12 towns and in horses in two other towns. Towns where mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE include Chester, Haddam, Hampton,
Groton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Madison, North Stonington, Plainfield, Shelton, Stonington, and Voluntown. Horses have tested positive for EEE virus in Colchester and Columbia this season,
and the virus has been detected in a flock of wild pheasants. Other states throughout the Northeast are also experiencing an active season for EEE. In addition to the virus being found in mosquitoes, there have been a total of eight human cases of EEE infection in Massachusetts and one human case in Rhode Island, with one case in each state resulting in a fatality.
“This is the second human case of EEE ever reported in Connecticut,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, Director of Infectious Diseases for the DPH. “The first human case of EEE reported in Connecticutoccurred in the fall of 2013.”

Link to information on 2013 case:
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Departments-andAgencies/DPH/dph/infectious_diseases/CTEPINEWS/Vol34No3pdf.pdf?la=en

The DPH advises against unnecessary trips into 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 substantial outdoor exposure in freshwater swamps
in Connecticut should be avoided. Even though the temperatures are getting cooler, it is important to remember mosquito season is not over and residents should continue to take measures to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing protective clothing and using repellents. Although EEE-infected mosquitoes continue to be detected in the southeastern corner of the State,
the numbers are declining and we are not experiencing the excessively high levels of activity seen in Massachusetts. There are currently no plans to implement widespread aerial pesticide spraying in the State.

Severe cases of EEE virus infection (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, and coma. Approximately a third of patients who develop EEE die, and many of those who survive have mild to severe brain damage. There is no specific treatment for EEE. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and no effective anti-viral drugs have been discovered. Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy which may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections. It takes 4 to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito to develop symptoms of EEE.

Connecticut Mosquito Management program

The management of mosquitoes in Connecticut is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and the Department of Public Health (DPH), together with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). These agencies are responsible for monitoring and managing the state’s mosquito population levels to reduce the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

For information on what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes and the latest mosquito test results and human infections, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program
web site at https://portal.ct.gov/mosquito

For more information about EEE prevention, please visit the CDC website:
https://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/gen/pre.html

Press Release

09/05/2019

Risk of Mosquito-Borne Diseases Continues: Eastern Equine Encephalitis Positive Mosquitoes Found in 10 Connecticut Towns

West Nile Virus Detected in 17 Connecticut Towns

New Haven, CT – The State Mosquito Management Program is warning Connecticut residents about the risk of infection by eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) this season.  So far, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has detected EEE-infected mosquitoes in: Chester, Haddam, Hampton, Killingworth, Madison, North Stonington, Plainfield, Shelton, Stonington, and Voluntown.  In addition, WNV-infected mosquitoes have been detected in: Bridgeport, Chester, East Haven, Greenwich, Groton, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven, North Haven, North Stonington, Norwalk, South Windsor, Stamford, Voluntown, West Hartford, West Haven, and Wethersfield.

“We continue to see exceptionally high numbers of mosquitoes carrying EEE virus especially in communities in southeastern Connecticut,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the CAES. “In addition, we are detecting WNV in numerous towns throughout the state. Late summer-early fall is the critical time of the year when virus activity reaches its peak in the mosquito population.”

“We are experiencing an extremely active season for EEE throughout much of the northeastern US, with multiple human and horse cases now being reported in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.  We strongly encourage residents throughout the state to take simple steps to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Director of the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases at the CAES.  “This includes applying insect repellent and covering bare skin, especially during dusk and dawn when biting mosquitoes are most active.”

2019 Eastern Equine Encephalitis Activity

 

2019 West Nile Virus Activity

There are no reported human cases of EEE or WNV infection so far this year in Connecticut.  Two horse cases of EEE (Colchester and Columbia) and one horse cases of WNV infection (Easton) have been reported in Connecticut this year.

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but serious mosquito-borne viral disease in people and horses. On average, there are 6 human cases reported each year in the United States. The mortality rate of hospitalized patients is one-third and approximately one-half of survivors suffer from permanent neurological damage. In Connecticut, outbreaks of EEE have occurred sporadically in horses since 1938 and the first locally-acquired human case and fatality occurred in the fall of 2013.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the United States and reemerges every summer in Connecticut. One hundred fifty-seven human cases of West Nile virus, including 4 deaths, have been diagnosed in Connecticut residents since 2000.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes residents should:

  • Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
  • Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.

The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture, and the University of Connecticut Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. These agencies are responsible for monitoring the potential public health threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

The CAES maintains a network of 92 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday – Thursday nights at each site every ten days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date.  Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at https://portal.ct.gov/CAES/Mosquito-Testing/Introductory/State-of-Connecticut-Mosquito-Trapping-and-Arbovirus-Testing-Program.

For information on West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis viruses and how to prevent mosquito bites, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Website at https://portal.ct.gov/mosquito

August 26, 2019

To All Voluntown Residents,

It has come to my attention through repeated conversations with representatives from the Connecticut Department of Health, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, that Voluntown is an area of high risk for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus. Mammal biting mosquitoes have tested positive for carrying the EEE virus have been trapped at the Mt. Misery and Frog Hollow Horse Camp section of Voluntown. Though the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is spraying these areas of the Pachaug State Forest this evening (8/26), the state is aware that EEE carrying mosquitoes could still be breeding in other areas of Voluntown, specifically areas of cedar swamps.

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages and it is highly recommended that residents avoid mosquito bites.

Special attention should be made by those who would be outdoors from dusk to dawn, especially;

  • High school students who are waiting for the a.m. bus
  • Outdoor recreation participants (hikers, walkers, fishermen, campers)
  • Participants/spectators of sporting events

Mosquito bites can be avoided by;

  • Minimizing time outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping out doors
  • Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective for brief periods of exposure.

Any questions can be directed to UNCAS Health District 860-823-1189.

Thank you,

Tracey Hanson,
First Selectman