BURLINGTON — Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been detected in more mosquitoes from the swampy areas of Whiting, nearby Leicester, and Brandon, the Vermont Health Department announced today. The Health Department Laboratory just confirmed EEE in five mosquito batches collected by the Agency of Agriculture this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
EEE was also recently detected in mosquitoes in Sudbury, from the opposite side of the swamp from where the Brandon mosquitoes were collected.
“The entire area around this swamp system appears to be a hot spot for EEE,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “With these findings, we strongly urge everyone in this higher risk area to take action to protect themselves from bites, especially this holiday weekend when people will be enjoying the outdoors. We can’t kill every mosquito — they will be with us until after the first few hard frosts, so we still have a month or more of the season left.”
Mosquito trapping and testing for EEE and West Nile virus has been limited this season to some towns in Addison and Rutland counties, and also in the northwestern part of the state. West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Leicester, Whiting, Pittsford, Brandon, Shoreham, Rutland and Fairfax, but it’s expected to be present in mosquitoes anywhere in the state.
To date this year, one person and one horse in Lamoille County have been confirmed to have West Nile virus. There have been no reports of human or animal cases of EEE this year.
The Health Department reminds Vermonters everywhere in the state — and especially people in the higher risk areas like southern Addison County and northern Rutland County — to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
The Health Department recommends these steps to help fight the bite:
• Stay inside from dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes are most active and biting during the early evening to early morning hours.
• Use insect repellent. If you go outside when mosquitoes are biting, always use insect repellent labeled effective against mosquitoes (DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus on your skin, permethrin on your clothing).
• Cover up. Whenever possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, shoes, hat, and headnet if you’re outside when mosquitoes are biting. Cover baby carriages and outdoor play spaces with mosquito netting.
• Keep mosquitoes out. Fix holes in door and window screens.
• Reduce mosquito habitat. Dump standing water in your yard twice a week.