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Meetings to focus on mosquito-borne illness

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WHITING/BRANDON — In the wake of two fatal human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD, and experts from the Health Department and the Agency of Agriculture will discuss EEE and mosquito control at three informational meetings beginning later this week.

The meetings will be:

•  Nov. 15, 6-8 p.m., at the Whiting Town Hall.

•  Nov. 28, 7-9 p.m., at Otter Valley High School, Brandon.

•  Nov. 29, 7-9 p.m., at the Sudbury Town Hall.

EEE and West Nile virus are serious infectious diseases transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This summer, EEE was detected in mosquitoes for the first time in Vermont in Brandon and Whiting, and two people died from the disease.

Scott Sgorbati, a 49-year-old Sudbury resident and father of two sons, was hospitalized on Aug. 14 after contracting EEE, and he died Sept. 18. He was the second Vermonter to be diagnosed with EEE, a viral infection that can cause severe neurologic disorder; 87-year-old Richard Breen of Brandon died Sept. 4.

At each of the upcoming informational meetings, health and agriculture officials will review surveillance data, actions taken to control mosquitoes in 2012 — including targeted aerial spraying — and plans in progress for tracking and control in 2013. Specific topics covered will include:

•  EEE in Vermont — what we know and don’t know from the data.

•  Surveillance — methods for tracking mosquitoes, and human and animal illness.

•  Response — information sharing, possible ground/aerial spraying.

There will also be a question-and-answer session.

For more information on mosquito-borne illness visit www.Healthvermont.gov.

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