Third Connecticut Resident Dies from Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Credits Provided by Mayor Angie Devanney

Credits Provided by Mayor Angie Devanney

Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a person from East Haddam between 60 and 69 years old died during the third week of September from the mosquito-borne illness. "Although mosquito populations are beginning to decline, risk from EEE will continue until the first hard frost".

In the last few weeks, three people have died of Eastern equine encephalitis in CT. Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz has attributed the spread of the virus to climate change, citing the number of infections in nearby states and the number of cases that have happened so late in the year. There are no plans to implement widespread pesticide sprays in the State.

A vaccine for EEE is on the market for horses, but not for humans. Severe cases can result in seizures or a coma that can cause brain damage, the CDC said.

As per the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, a third person has died and someone else has gotten the infection.

Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness, however some can be very ill.

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Symptoms typically appear about four to 10 days after a bite, with severe cases progressing to encephalitis.

Around one-third of individuals with EEE pass on from the sickness and there is significant brain harm in many survivors. While there is a vaccine for horses, there is no vaccine for people.

A fourth CT case has now been reported in Colchester, where the person between the age of 40-49 has been hospitalized.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said another person, who is in their 40s, is hospitalized with the rare virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Overnight camping or other substantial outdoor exposure in freshwater swamps in CT should be avoided.

The best and simplest way to prevent EEE is to prevent mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent on skin and clothes; maintaining screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of indoor spaces; and avoiding letting water collect in places like flower pots, buckets and barrels, since mosquitos are drawn to standing water. People who think they've been infected with EEE or other vector-borne diseases that can cause encephalitis, like West Nile virus and Powassam virus, should seek medical care. "All four were most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes sometime between August 11, 2019 and September 8, 2019, which was the peak period of mosquito activity in Connecticut" Dr. Cartter explained.

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