CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Chesapeake Health Department reports an increase in eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) activity detected by the Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission.
EEE is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and is relatively rare in humans.
Health officials say mosquitoes have been testing positive for the disease at a higher than normal rate this summer. Flocks of sentinel chickens have also been testing positive at a very high rate early in the season, officials say.
“With the recent rains leading to more mosquitoes, it’s important for residents of Chesapeake to take precautions to protect themselves and their families,” said Chesapeake Health Director Dr. Nancy Welch.
While most people experience mild flu-like illness, severe cases of EEE can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis and even death. Severe symptoms are more common in people over the age of 50 or under 15. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion and lethargy should seek medical attention right away.
The best prevention for EEE is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and follow the following:
- Use an age-appropriate insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient
- Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants around dusk & dawn when most mosquitoes are active
- Have good screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out
- Eliminate mosquito breeding areas where rainwater collects; turn over or empty bird baths, flower pots, buckets, or barrels; clean roof gutters and downspouts; remove old tires from your yard; shake out tarps weekly; empty wading pools when not in use
- Put a safe pesticide, such as Mosquito Dunks, in water that cannot be eliminated to kill developing mosquitoes
Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission will be collecting and testing adult mosquitoes throughout the city through October. The commission will also perform inspections and pesticide treatment of stagnant water for immature mosquitoes.
For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, click here.
To report a mosquito problem in Chesapeake, click here.