“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.
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
- 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 epa.gov, 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.
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