(Snow Hill, MD) - Sources of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-carried virus, were identified last month in both Worcester and Wicomico Counties. On July 19, public health officials confirmed two pools of Culiseta melanura species mosquitoes; one near Rural Place in Wicomico, the other near Sheppard’s Crossing in Worcester, Infection with the EEE virus can be serious and sometimes fatal to humans. The best way to prevent infection is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
The EEE virus is carried and transferred by mosquitoes in the same way that West Nile and Zika are spread. The incubation period for EEE virus once a person is bitten by an infected mosquito ranges from 4 to 10 days. Symptoms can include chills, fever, pain in joints or muscles, or general discomfort. However, some people infected with EEE virus may not develop any symptoms. The EEE virus can be fatal in roughly one-third of those infected and no direct treatment exists. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.
As is the case with other mosquito-borne diseases, the most effective way to avoid EEE is mosquito bite prevention. Use insect repellents and wear long sleeves while spending time outdoors, install or repair screens on windows and doors, and remove standing water from your property since those areas can serve as mosquito breeding sites. For more information on mosquito prevention, visitwww.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/.