TWO MOSQUITO POOLS TEST POSITIVE FOR EEE
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ – Departments of Health and the Department of Public Works Mosquito Control Division report that two mosquito pools within the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. The Cumberland County Mosquito Control Division monitors this area closely because the wooded, swampy environment within the wildlife management area is at an increased risk for mosquitoes carrying EEE as well as West Nile virus. The County Mosquito Control Division will be spraying the area this week to cut back on the number of adult mosquitoes that carry the risk of transmitting EEE virus to humans or animals such as horses. The area to be sprayed is limited to the wildlife area in Union Lake, with no residential homes needing to be sprayed at this time.
Although not as common as West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States. The virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States only reports 5-10 EEE cases a year. But as with West Nile virus, we are at an increased risk for EEE virus this year due to the increased rainfall and climate. Approximately 33% of people with EEE die from the disease and most survivors suffer from significant brain damage. Symptoms can appear between 4 to 10 days after an infected bite and can last 1-2 weeks. Symptoms can include chills, fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions. Individuals who experience a sudden onset of these symptoms should contact their primary care physician for evaluation.
“We strongly recommend residents to use precaution when visiting wet, wooded places such as the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area” said George Sartorio, Health Officer for the Cumberland County Health Department. “It’s a great place to visit to get some outdoor time with your family and pets, but use protective measures to keep yourself safe.”
Protective measures include:
· Use an EPA approved mosquito repellent, such as DEET, when outdoors. Be sure to follow all label directions.
· Wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever outdoors.
· Have screens on windows and doors that are in good condition.
· Remove mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of standing water from empty flowerpots, buckets, and old tires.
· Report mosquito concerns to the County Mosquito Control Division.
For more information about Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, please visit www.state.nj.us/health/cd/eee or www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis. Please contact Megan Sheppard at the Cumberland County Health Department at: (856) 327-7602 or Heather Lomberk at the Cumberland County Mosquito Control Division at: (856) 453-2170 if you have any questions or concerns.