With mosquitoes testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Groton, East Lyme, Old Lyme, Ledyard and now Montville, along with EEE related fatalities in East Lyme and Old Lyme, those in Waterford and Southeastern Connecticut should take precautions to keep themselves and the families safe.
• Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
• Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
• While outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
• Use mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors.
• Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective for brief periods of exposure.
• When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than 2 months.
• Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire Swings, clogged gutters.
• Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
• Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and cover pools when not in use.
• Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.
Along with taking precautions to reduce the risk of EEE, residents of Southeastern Connecticut should also be aware of the symptoms of EEE.
While most people infected with the EEE virus will not become ill, the symptoms do occur the can range from a mild fever or headache to a coma.
Other symptoms of EEE, which typically occur 3 to 10 das after a person has become infected, according to the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, include
• High Fever
• Muscle Aches
• Neck Stiffness
• Severe cases include inflammation of the brain, coma and death
The State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program states it is not necessary to limit your outdoor activities, however you should reduce your risk of being bitten by taking personal precautions and reducing standing water in your yard.