Snow Hill, MD – The Worcester County Health Department received notification from the State of Maryland that two mosquito pools have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Worcester County.
The pools are located in the areas of Whaleyville and a woodland area in Pocomoke City. The mosquito species that tested positive feeds on birds, horses and people.
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 Health Department is providing 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 a quarter 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; fix dripping faucets.
- Wear clothing that covers the arms, legs, and feet whenever you are outdoors.
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved mosquito repellent sparingly on exposed skin. Consult a physician before applying EPA approved mosquito repellent to young 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 EPA approved mosquito repellent 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.
Horse owners can protect their horses from EEE with a vaccine, contact your veterinarian for information.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma. 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. Anyone with possible symptoms of EEE should contact a health care provider immediately.
Mosquito spraying has been conducted in Pocomoke City as of Monday, September 11th, however the location is expected to be sprayed again along with the Whaleyville area.
For more prevention tips and information about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) visit www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis.