Tests find more EEE virus in Vt. mosquito poolsBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | August 31,2013MONTPELIER — Tests have found more mosquitoes infected with the virus that causes the potentially deadly disease Eastern equine encephalitis, and the Vermont Health Department is urging people to protect themselves from mosquitoes during outdoor activities, especially over the Labor Day weekend.
The virus was found in a number of samples taken in swampy areas of Whiting, nearby Leicester, Brandon and Sudbury, the health department said.
“The entire area around this swamp system appears to be a hot spot for EEE,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen in a news release Friday.
So far this year no human cases of EEE have been reported in Vermont; last year two people who lived near the swamp died of the disease. EEE strikes the central nervous system and kills about 35 percent of the people who contract a form of the illness.
“It’s definitely caught a lot of peoples’ attention,” said Tim Schmalz, chief of the plant industry section at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture who has been studying EEE.
Scientists have also detected West Nile virus in the state, including a human case and one in a horse. The human patient recovered.
The health department is urging anyone who goes outside during the early evening and morning hours when mosquitoes are most active to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and use insect repellant. Property owners should also fix holes in door and window screens and reduce mosquito habitat by dumping out standing water.
There is evidence the EEE virus has existed for years across the Eastern U.S. and into Canada, said Erica Berl, a department infectious disease epidemiologist.
The mosquito that spreads EEE is found in a type of swamp, such as is found in northern Rutland and southern Addison counties.
“We think most of the risk is associated with living within five to 10 miles of a hardwood, acidic swamp. It’s not uniformly distributed across the area, but it seems to show up like hotspots. It seems to be associated with a particular wetland,” Berl said.
Schmalz said the virus builds up in birds and mosquitoes over the summer.
“Why it showed up in sufficient quantity to get out and infect humans (last year) is still a bit of a mystery,” he said. “There are a lot of questions that haven’t been answered, a lot of basic research on this disease that we could really use more information on.”
He said that because two people and some horses died from EEE in Vermont last year, the office has stepped up its efforts to understand the virus.MORE IN Vermont NewsGoddard College is getting national attention for its choice in commencement speaker for the... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor, Venus Genetrix; on this day in 1933, FBI agents in Memphis, Tennessee, arrest Machine Gun Kelly; Yves Rossi flies the English Channel with home-made jet-pack.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1852, Henri Giffard demonstrates the first steam-powered airship, sailing 17 miles from Paris to Trappes; on this day in 1877, Japanese imperial troops crush the Satsuma Rebellion, Saigo Takamori dies in Kagoshima.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch meets with Killington business owners, governor candidates debate, Gov. Shumlin discusses progress in anti-opiate campaign, Spanos trial venue moves to White River Junction.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1776, as Nathan Hale is hanged by British military authorities for spying, he utters his famous last words — or does he? In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempts to kill President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Patrick McArdle reports and the theft of an $89,000 shotgun, police release a video of the Monday Castleton robbery, O'Gorman reports a lawsuit by a local man claiming his vehicle unlawfully seized, police leave him in cold.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Giles Corey of Salem, Mass., is pressed to death during the Salem witch trials; on this day in 1952, film comedian Charlie Chaplin, while traveling to England, is denied re-entry into the United States by U.S. attorney general.