THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Connecticut mosquitos test positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus

The Connecticut State Mosquito Management Program announced on Tuesday that mosquitoes trapped in Voluntown have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus.

The mosquitos that tested positive for the virus were trapped in Voluntown on July 10. This is the first case of EEE positive mosquitoes seen this year and the earliest confirmed case since the trapping program began in 1997.

"While the EEE-infected mosquitoes were Culiseta melanura, a bird feeding species, identification this early in the season is reason for concern," Dr. Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said. "Due to recent heavy rains, this species is particularly numerous now and will potentially have a longer season to spread the virus to birds and then mosquito species that feed on birds and people before the weather turns cold in the fall."

EEE is a serious rare disease in humans, with only six cases reported each year in the United States. Most people infected with the virus do not become ill, however those that do suffer from inflammation of the brain.

To reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitos, Connecticut officials ask that all people minimize times outdoors between dusk and dawn, wear long shoes, socks and pants, use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors and use mosquito repellent.