An East Haddam resident who died more than a week ago was confirmed today by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have been infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The State Department of Health also announced a fourth case of the disease in Connecticut, a Colchester resident.
“We have had four human cases of EEE, three of which were fatal. 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” said State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter for the department of health in a press release on Tuesday. “All four residents live in a part of eastern Connecticut where EEE activity has not been a problem before this summer.”
Although statewide testing of inland wetlands and ponds suggests that EEE is most prevalent in the southeastern portion of the state, the disease was also detected last week in Bethany and Middlefield by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Cartter warned that the risk of infection will continue until there is a frost.
After three deaths in Massachusetts and one death in Rhode Island, as well as a number of infections, both states began programs of aerial spraying for mosquitoes.
In a joint letter on Sunday Sen. Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) and Sen. Norm Needleman (D-Essex) asked the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to “review the potential effectiveness of selective aerial insecticide spraying in areas of the state with high concentrations of EEE.”
At present, the state of Connecticut has responded to the outbreak of infections with a policies aimed at avoidance and education.
The press release today announcing additional cases of the disease advised residents that “DPH continues to ask Connecticut residents not to take unnecessary trips into marshes and freshwater swamps as these are typically breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus, with such mosquitoes being most active at dusk and dawn. Overnight camping or other substantial outdoor exposure in freshwater swamps in Connecticut should be avoided.”