Deadly EEE Virus; A resident has been diagnosed with the deadly EEE virus in Onondaga County, New York, USA
An Onondaga County resident has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially deadly virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
The individual is hospitalized and is in stable condition, according to the Onondaga County Health Department, which declined to disclose any other details about the case.
Central New York is a hot spot for Eastern equine encephalitis, EEE for short. Five Central New Yorkers have died from EEE since 1971. Maggie Wilcox, a 4-year-old Oswego resident, died from the virus in 2011. Her family has been advocating for the development of a public vaccine.
This is the first known human case in Onondaga County since 2010.
EEE is a rare but dangerous viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms, which usually start four to 10 days after the bite, can include fever, headache and vomiting. Illness can then progress to altered mental status, confusion, seizures, coma and even death. The greatest risk for infection with this virus is for people who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Michelle Mignano, Onondaga County’s interim health commissioner, said the county was notified of the EEE diagnosis today by the state Health Department.
She said it is essential that residents consistently take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
The Onondaga County Health Department recently conducted aerial spraying of the Cicero swamp. Mignano said if additional spraying is determined to be necessary, the public will be notified through the media and by the emergency reverse 911 notification system.
Oswego County plans to do aerial spraying tonight and Saturday night.
It is important that the public continue to take measures to minimize being bitten by mosquitoes and to keep yards free of standing water to reduce the mosquito population, Mignano said.
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. Personal protection is advised during outdoor activities. Personal protection measures include wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time.
The department said people should use mosquito repellent.
It also offered these tips:
- Throw away outdoor containers, ceramic pots, or containers that hold water;
- Remove all tires from your property;
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors;
- Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly;
- Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use;
- Change water in bird baths at least every four days;
- Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds;
- Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs;
- Drain water from pool covers;
- Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates.