First EEE-positive mosquitoes of the season detected
The state has detected the first Eastern Equine Encephalitis-positive mosquitoes of the season, which one expert said is a worrisome omen for the rest of the season.
The mosquitoes came from a pool in Stonington and tested positive for EEE on Aug. 5, said Philip Armstrong, virologist and medical entomologist for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. It’s the first detection of EEE in the state this year and its discovery is troubling, Armstrong said.
“The detection of EEE virus in early August is a cause for concern and we will continue to closely monitor the situation to determine if virus transmission intensifies over time,” he said.
Last year was a particularly bad one for EEE in Connecticut, as there were four human cases of the illness and three fatalities in the southeastern portion of the state. It’s unusual for there to be so many human cases of EEE. Previously, there had been only one such case in the state, in 2013.
EEE is one of several mosquito-borne illnesses the state tests for during the summer months. The prevailing mosquito-borne illness in the state is West Nile virus. So far this season, West Nile virus has been detected in 28 mosquito pools in seven towns: Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, Guilford, Newington, Norwalk, and Stamford.
Most of the virus detections have occurred in Stamford, Armstrong said.
Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness, however some can be very ill. Severe cases of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting four to 10 days after a mosquito bite. The illness may then progress to disorientation, seizures, or coma.