Suffolk mosquitoes test positive for EEE

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The first mosquitoes in Hampton Roads to test positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this season were found in Suffolk.

Mosquitoes collected in Olde Mill Creek, Wonderland Forest, Drivers Station, Bennett’s Harbor, Pughsville, and Huntersville area have tested positive for EEE, according to Diana Klink with the city of Suffolk.

Photos: Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Suffolk

“EEE is a very rare human disease that affects 5-10 humans annually in the United States,” Klink said. “EEE infection in humans begins with mild flu-like symptoms, progresses into disorientation, seizures, coma, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and in the most severe cases individuals die. Many that survive will have ‘mild to severe brain damage.'”

While no human cases of EEE have ever been reported in the city of Suffolk, officials want citizens to be aware and to take precautions. In the meantime, Mosquito Control operations are intensifying across the city.

The city of Suffolk released the following tips:

Horses are commonly found with EEE in Suffolk, so horse owners should vaccinate their horses for EEE and any other insect transmitted diseases.

You can greatly decrease your chances of contracting EEE by protecting yourself from excessive mosquito bites while outdoors by following these recommendations:

  • Remain indoors during times of greatest mosquito activity (1 hour before dusk to 1 hour before dawn) 
  • Wear loose, long, and light-colored clothing when outdoors 
  • Use insect repellants containing DEET according to the label instructions.

You can contribute by eliminating mosquito-breeding areas around your home and neighborhood by following these steps:

  • Empty water-holding containers: buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheel barrows, potted plant trays, etc.
  • Properly dispose of used tires. 
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts and corrugated black drainpipes for any water collection. 
  • Clean wading and swimming pools
  • Drain water from tarps
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home which include ditches and low lying areas

Free Mosquito Dunks are available to Suffolk citizens at your local Fire Stations 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Mosquito Control Office, Municipal Building – Media & Community Relations Department, Public Works Administration Building and the East Suffolk Recreation Center. In order to get your free Mosquito Dunks you must be 18 years of age or older, have proof of residence in the City of Suffolk, proper picture identification and sign the “Information Sheet” at the location of pick-up. Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water habitats is a common practice used to eliminate mosquito larvae.

For more information concerning EEE and WNV refer to the following links:

Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Horses and EEE Fact Sheet provided by Rutgers University

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