The Vermont Department of Health has been notified that a horse in Highgate was euthanized as a result of becoming ill from Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). This is evidence that mosquitoes in the area carry the virus.
“People who live in Highgate are now considered to be at high risk for EEE, and people in Swanton are at increased risk, as well,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “I strongly recommend that people living in the area take every precaution to avoid bites while mosquitoes are still active—until the first killing frost.”
A hard frost is defined as below 28 degrees for at least several hours, which may not take place for another month in some parts of Vermont.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans and some animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Last year, two people who lived in the southern Addison County/northern Rutland County died from EEE, an area of the state where mosquito trapping and testing has shown consistent evidence of mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus.
Active mosquito surveillance is limited to those parts of Addison and Rutland counties and much more limited surveillance in parts of Franklin and Chittenden counties, so it’s possible that EEE and West Nile virus are present in other parts of the state.
The Vermont Department of Health urges, “No matter where you live, fight the bite!”
- Stay inside or limit the amount of time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active and biting.
- Use insect repellents labeled as being effective against mosquitoes.
- Cover up with long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes, hat, and headnet when possible.
- Dump standing water from around your house twice a week.
The latest news and extensive information about mosquito-borne illness and precautions to take—including posters, flyers, and messaging for moderate- and high-risk areas—is available at www.healthvermont.gov. You may also call 1-800-913-1139 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
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