Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Cynthia B. Morrow, MD, MPH was notified by the New York State Department of Health that an Onondaga County adult resident has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Dr. Morrow explained that EEE is a rare but dangerous viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms, which usually start 4-10 days after the bite, can include fever, headache, and vomiting. Illness can then progress to altered mental status, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. The greatest risk for infection with this virus is for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. In this case, the individual involved has spent significant time in an area previously known to have EEE activity.
Dr. Morrow strongly urges residents to use the following personal protection and prevention measures:
Personal protection is advised during outdoor activities. Personal protection measures include:
· Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time.
· Avoiding outside activity during prime mosquito feeding times (dawn and dusk)
· Applying a repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and IR3535 is recommended to prevent mosquito bites (follow manufacturers instructions on proper use).
· Throw away outdoor tin cans, plastic containers, or similar outdoor items that collect water
· Remove tires from your property
· Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
· Clean clogged rain gutters
· Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
· Change water in bird baths every four days
· Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
· Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs
· Drain water from pool covers
· Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates