As news of the virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis continues to spread, with three deaths in Connecticut blamed on infections, State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) today shared safety tips. While the virus is rare in humans, the increase in activity seen this year reiterates the importance of taking precautions and staying safe.
While normally considered rare, with an average of seven cases reported per year, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, can be seriously life-threatening, according to the Department of Public Health. However, there are many ways to lower risk of contracting EEE, with the most prominent being preventing mosquito bites. The DPH recommends taking the following precautions to reduce risk of EEE:
- Use insect repellent. This product, when used as directed, can protect all individuals from insect bites.
- Cover up when outside, wearing long sleeves and long pants.
- Prevent insects from entering your home using air conditioning, window screens or door screens.
- Limit the amount of time children and toddlers spend outside.
- Avoid standing water, forests and other areas where mosquitos naturally are found. If there is standing water on your property, work to get rid of it.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control advises that mosquitos are most active in the early morning and evening. If possible, limit time outdoors during those periods of time.
The EEE threat will remain active until nightly temperatures drop low enough for frost, which generally occurs in early-to-mid October. Media reports early Friday suggested frost is possible as soon as this weekend. Authorities said this week that the risk of infection will decline among the public as the weather forecast indicates colder weather is coming.