Mosquito-borne diseases found in Suffolk
Mosquitoes in Suffolk have tested positive for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, according to a city press release.
The West Nile Virus was detected in the Riverview, North Street and Dumville Lane areas of Suffolk, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis was detected in Cove Point and the Lamb Avenue areas of Suffolk.
Horses in Suffolk are commonly found with EEE, but the city reports that there haven’t been any cases reported in humans currently or in years past. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is very rare in humans, with only five to 10 being affected annually.
Mosquito Control urges horse owners to vaccinate their horses for EEE and other insect-transmitted diseases.
Both viruses can be dangerous if individuals are infected, but Eastern Equine Encephalitis is far rarer than West Nile Virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 44,000 cases have been reported since 1999.
According to the press release from the city, 80 percent of people infected with West Nile never show symptoms, but those that do exhibit mild symptoms experience flu-like symptoms including rashes.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis can be much worse when humans become infected. The symptoms begin flu-like but can progress into disorientation, seizures, coma and inflammation of the brain. Survivors experience mild to severe brain damage, but most severe cases end in death.
The American Mosquito Control Association has proclaimed this week as National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.
The city’s Mosquito Control Operations will intensify their efforts in the areas that tested positive for WNV and EEE. They will increase mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and evening spray applications.
While the city will increase its efforts, residents can also help control mosquitoes.
Debris that holds standing water can breed mosquitoes, and the city recommends disposing of old tires, cleaning water in bird baths and regularly changing the water in pet dishes.
Contracting WNV and EEE can be avoided by dressing appropriately and using the proper repellant when outside.
The city recommends staying indoors during the height of mosquito activity, which is one hour before dusk and one hour before dawn. Those that need to be outside should wear loose, long and light-colored clothing.
Repellants containing DEET provide the best defense against mosquitoes, and the city recommends using them according to the label instructions.
The city will provide free mosquito dunks to citizens at Fire and Rescue stations, the Media and Community Relations Department at City Hall, Whaleyville Community Center, East Suffolk Recreation Center, all three public libraries and the Mosquito Control Office, 800 Carolina Road.
To receive the free resource, residents must be 18 years old and have proof of residence in Suffolk.
Information about Mosquito Awareness Week, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis is available at all three of the libraries in Suffolk.