EEE detected in Vermont mosquitoes; what you need to know to protect your family
ALBURGH, Vt. (WCAX) - Eastern equine encephalitis was recently detected in Alburgh and Swanton, but state leaders are keeping their eye on hundreds of pools of mosquitoes across Vermont. The risk of infection is highest now and into the fall season.
Now, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture is setting traps to try to catch bugs and identify illnesses.
“I’m adding what we call rapid response sites,” said Patti Casey of the Agriculture Agency.
Casey says they have 105 testing sites around the state, like one in Alburgh. West Nile virus is most common in this area but because they found eastern equine encephalitis or EEE, they are taking extra steps to track the data.
“We are also going to be doubling our efforts at vacuuming out some traps that we have around this area, as well. We’re adding probably about half a dozen in this area,” Casey said.
Some farmers and other people I spoke with who live in Alburgh said they are not really concerned about the mosquitoes, but the Health Department says it’s definitely something people should look out for.
“A portion of those people, especially if they develop neurologic illness. It might involve the brain and spinal cord and can result in hospitalization. As well as long-term sequelae to their health. So we want to prevent those infections,” said Natalie Kwit from the Vermont Department of Health.
There have been no human cases of EEE identified in Vermont since 2012, when two people died. It can also infect unvaccinated horses-- two horses also died in 2012.
To make sure you stay safe from the mosquitoes, wear a long-sleeve shirt when you go outside, make sure you wear plenty of bug spray and avoid going out at dusk or dawn.
Symptoms happen 4-10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Officials say people experience flu-like symptoms, which can last one or two weeks. In some cases, it will spread to the brain and spinal cord, including stiff neck, and a headache. People over age 50 and younger than age 15 are at greatest risk for developing severe disease.
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