Vermont Plans More Tests for EEE

Vermont Plans More Tests for EEE

Last year was the first time EEE was reported Vermont. Two people in Rutland county died after contracting it. This year officials with Vermont Health and Agriculture have a new plan to monitor mosquitoes.

Last year was the first time EEE was reported Vermont. Two people in Rutland county died after contracting it. This year officials with Vermont Health and Agriculture have a new plan to monitor mosquitos.

EEE, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare, deadly mosquito borne virus.

"It's spread by a different species than west nile. and it tends to cause more severe human illness and more often be fatal than west nile. so it is of greater concern," said Patsy Kelso, VT State Epidemiologist.

Concern that led state officials to revise its current Surveillance and Response plan.

"So what's new in this revision of our state plan is the response matrix and that's specifically geared toward EEE alone," said Kelso.

The response plan includes trapping mosquitos on a weekly basis and testing them for EEE.

But trapping is a lot of work and costs a lot of money. So the state is only trapping in areas where EEE has been detected before -such as Sudbury and Brandon.

"The rest of the state we are dependent upon a veterinary case, a horse or something testing positive and that will be an indication that there's a risk there," said Kelso.

If there's a risk detected, they state will let the public know what precautions should be taken.

"We're going to look at, each week, what our mosquito test results are, whether there are other suggestive signs that the risk for human cases might be increasing and then our message to the public will change based on that," said Kelso.

Kelso says the state can only trap and test a small percentage of the mosquitos.

So there's a chance there could be EEE in an area where the tests didn't find it.

So - as a precaution they urge everyone to use bug spray with deet or wear long sleeves during if you are outside at dawn and dusk.

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