EEE Virus Found in Mosquito Pool in Grand Isle

By Joe Gullo

Published 07/01 2014 11:03AM

Updated 07/01 2014 11:56AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. -The Vermont Health Department says a pool of mosquitoes in the Town of Grand Isle has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE).
Health officials say this is the earliest detection of the virus found in the Northeast. It's also the first time the disease was detected in Grand Isle County. 

So far this year, more than 300 batches of mosquitoes have been tested, health leaders say.

“This reminds us that although the mosquitoes have been biting for weeks, the risk for getting sick starts to increase right about now,” said Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist.

Symptoms of EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, joint and body aches. The Health Department says symptoms usually last one to two weeks.

Both viruses can cause severe illnesses. The Health Department says symptoms of severe disease include fever, intense headache, weakness, poor coordination, irritability, drowsiness and mental status changes. About one-third of people who develop severe EEE disease will die, and many who recover are left with disabilities. The Health Department says severe EEE is rare.

Reported EEE and WNV in Vermont in 2013

Blue dots are towns that only reported West Nile Virus. Red dots are towns that reported both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Data: Vermont Health Department

Ways to prevent mosquito bites
  • Weather permitting, wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn – when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water. Drain areas where water can pool: rain gutters, wading pools and any other water-holding containers such as old tires. 
  • If you are outside when mosquitoes are biting, use an effective insect repellent. Choose repellents that have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number on the label. This indicates that the product has been evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Repellents that contain no more than 30 percent DEET are safe and effective for children and adults. When using insect repellent, always follow the directions on the label. EPA has a tool that will help you search for a repellent that is right for you – Go to, use the A-Z listing to find ‘Insect Repellents’ or review this.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. 
  • Protect your animals. Horses are susceptible to WNV and EEE infection, and there are effective vaccines available. Llamas, alpacas and emus are also susceptible and can be immunized with the horse vaccine.
  • Contact your health care provider if you have questions about your health or need medical attention. 
Vermonters can contact the WNV/EEE information line at 800-913-1139 with questions. The phone line will be operational from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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