EEE Detected In Ocean County Mosquito Pool

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Ocean County Health Department was notified through the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratory of findings of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a mosquito pool submitted from Jackson Township. EEE is a rare viral disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. It is found mainly along the eastern seaboard of the United States. As there is no specific treatment for EEE, prevention steps include controlling the mosquito population and avoiding mosquito bites.

EEE virus involves birds and a specific type of mosquito; Culiseta melanura, that lives in marshes and swamps. This type of mosquito only feeds on birds; they do not feed on humans and other mammals (including horses and humans). Other types of mosquitoes that feed on infected birds can then create a “bridge” to spread EEE to uninfected mammals.

Infection with EEE can cause a range of illnesses. Most people have no symptoms; others get mild flu-like illness with fever, headache and sore throat. Rarely, people can develop an infection of the central nervous system; a sudden fever and severe headaches can be followed by seizures, coma and possibly death.

EEE is a rare disease. Since 1964, 163 cases have been confirmed in the United States. Fewer than 5 cases are reported in most years.

A vaccine is available for horses to prevent infection with EEE, but not for humans.

Controlling the mosquito population includes:

· Keeping lawns and bushes trimmed

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· Changing water frequently in bird baths and kiddie pools

· Removing old tires and other yard debris that can store standing water

· Keeping roof gutters clean of leaves and other matter

In addition, to avoid mosquito bites:

· Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when possible

· Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever outdoors, weather permitting

· Make sure screen doors and windows are in good condition

· When going outside, use an insect repellent containing DEET on skin or clothing, or a repellent containing permethrin on clothing. DO NOT use repellants on children less than 3 years old. ALWAYS USE REPELLANTS ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTIONS ON THE LABEL.

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