(Pocomoke, MD) – The Worcester County Health Department received notification from the State of Maryland that a mosquito pool in a remote location southwest of Pocomoke City in Worcester County recently tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The mosquito pool containing EEE is located in the Hickory Point Natural Area west of Pocomoke and east of the Rehobeth, MD boat ramp. This is the second positive test for EEE in mosquitoes in Worcester in 2019, however, unlike the first results last month, this most recent incident involves a species of mosquito that is not attracted to mammals and feeds almost entirely on birds.
Weather permitting, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will spray the area around the mosquito pool tonight, 8/7/19, at 5 pm. Roughly 5,500 acres on both sides of the Pocomoke River will be impacted, including about 2,400 acres in Somerset County near Rehobeth; it is not necessary for people, pets or livestock to leave the area to be treated. There is no negative impact from the spraying to humans or the bee population.
Arboviruses, such as the EEE virus, are most common during the summer and fall months. The viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes and spread to humans, birds, horses and other animals. Since mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter-inch of water, eliminating standing water is critical for the control of mosquito populations. Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.
The Worcester and Somerset County Health Departments provide the following tips to help prevent contact with mosquitoes and reduce risk of infection with EEE or other mosquito borne illnesses:
- Remove standing water around your home. As little as one-half inch of water will support dozens of mosquitoes. Remove or turn over buckets, bottles, and other containers; discard old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used for playground equipment; clean rain gutters; store canoes, wheelbarrows, and plastic wading pools upside down; flush birdbaths and the bottom of plant holders twice a week; remove pet food and water dishes that are not being used; adjust tarps (over pools, boats, etc.) to eliminate standing water, and fix dripping faucets.
- Wear clothing that covers the arms, legs, and feet whenever you are outdoors.
- Use mosquito repellents sparingly on exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 20% to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Higher concentrations may cause side effects, particularly in children. Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children and do not use repellents on children under 3 years of age. Follow package instructions carefully.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET as mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
- Minimize outdoor activities at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- Inspect window and door screens, and repair any holes found.
Signs and Symptoms
People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. In more severe cases, patients need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment. Signs and symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma. Anyone with possible symptoms of EEE should contact a health care provider immediately.
Horse owners can protect their horses from EEE with a vaccine, contact your veterinarian for information.
For more prevention tips and information about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) visit www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis.