Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mosquito-borne disease

Maine CDC has confirmed the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in two mosquito pools from York County.

EEE is a virus that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause serious illness in humans; large animals, like horses; and some species of birds. Maine confirmed EEE in a flock of pheasants during 2012 and experienced unprecedented EEE activity during 2009 with multiple animals and mosquito pools testing positive for the virus.

Regionally, all of our surrounding states have also identified EEE in 2013, including mosquito pools in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Two horses have tested positive for EEE in Massachusetts as well.

Maine CDC recommends the following preventative measures to protect against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses:
  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellent when outdoors, especially around dawn and dusk. Always follow the instructions on the product’s label;
  • Wear protective clothing when outdoors, including long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks;
  • Keep window and door screens down to keep mosquitoes out of the home;
  • Limit time outdoors at dawn and dusk when many species of mosquitoes are most active;
  • Remove containers holding water in and around the home, as water can attract mosquitoes.

Maine's Health and Environmental Laboratory (HETL) routinely performs testing for EEE and West Nile virus (WNV) in mosquitoes, large animals and humans. Maine stopped testing individual dead birds for mosquito-borne illnesses in 2006 and no longer uses them as an indicator for disease.

Maine CDC will continue to update information on mosquito-borne disease surveillance in the state every Monday from May through September at http://go.usa.gov/jt6R

Information on pesticides and repellents is available at the Maine Board of Pesticides Control website at: http://go.usa.gov/jt6F

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