EEE detected in Suffolk

Published 10:43 pm Friday, June 20, 2014

Suffolk’s Mosquito Control Division has detected the first instances of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Hampton Roads this season.

Mosquitoes collected in Olde Mill Creek, Wonderland Forest, Driver Station, Bennett’s Harbor, Pughsville and Huntersville have tested positive for the rare but serious human disease, according to a press release from the city.

EEE affects only five to 10 humans in the United States annually. It begins with mild flu-like symptoms and progresses into disorientation, seizures, coma, encephalitis and, in the most severe cases, death. Many who survive will have brain damage.

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No human cases of EEE have ever been reported in Suffolk, but horses in the city commonly get the disease, according to the city press release. Horse owners are urged to vaccinate their horses for EEE and any other insect-transmitted diseases.

Mosquito Control is intensifying its efforts in the areas that had positive results, according to the release. They will conduct increased mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and spraying.

You can protect yourself from mosquito bites and associated illnesses by remaining indoors from one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn, wearing loose, long and light-colored clothing while outdoors and using insect repellants containing DEET.

You can help eliminate mosquito breeding areas around your home and neighborhood by doing the following:

  • Empty water-holding containers
  • Properly dispose of used tires
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts and drainpipes
  • Clean wading and swimming pools
  • Drain water from tarps
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, including ditches and low-lying areas

Mosquito Dunks can be obtained at each fire station, the Suffolk Media and Community Relations Department (441 Market St., Room 205), the Suffolk Public Works Engineering Reception Desk (440 Market St., second floor), the East Suffolk Recreation Center (138 S. Sixth St.) and the Mosquito Control office (866 Carolina Road).

Those receiving free mosquito dunks must be 18 or older, have proof of residence in the city, show picture identification and sign the information sheet. Only one package of dunks per month can be obtained per resident.

Call 514-7609 for more information on mosquito control.