Onondaga County Interim Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano, was notified by the New York State Department of Health today that an Onondaga County adult resident has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Ms. Mignano explained, “This is the second known human case of EEE this year. It is essential that residents consistently take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes”. Mignano stated that the individual is currently hospitalized and is in stable condition. To protect the privacy of this patient and of their family, additional details are not being shared with the public.
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.
Although we are experiencing cooler evenings and mosquito numbers are down, residents should continue to practice personal protection measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes until the first hard frost. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. 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. Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children. Put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
It is also important to keep your yard free from standing water to reduce the mosquito population near your home. The following are ways of helping to reduce mosquito breeding grounds:
- Throw away outdoor containers, ceramic pots, or containers that hold water
- Remove all tires from your property
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
- Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly
- Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
- Change water in bird baths at least 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
For more information visit: /health/mosquitoborne.html or https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm.