The State Mosquito Management Program has announced that mosquitoes trapped in Hampton on August 26 have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE). These results represent the first EEE-positive mosquitoes identified in Hampton by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.
The EEE-infected mosquitoes from the Hampton Reservoir trapping site were Culiseta melanura, a bird-feeding species. While these mosquitoes don’t typically feed on humans, the finding indicate that EEE is present in the area and people should protect themselves from mosquito bites.
“The identification of a pool of EEE-positive mosquitoes in Hampton and yesterday’s announcement of the first human case of West Nile virus underscore how important it is for people take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen on August 30.
Mosquitoes with EEE virus have also been identified in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown prompting the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to close part of the forest to recreational activities as well as two campgrounds there. In addition, ultra-low volume ground spraying was conducted in the area on August 27 to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes collected at trap sites to the south in North Stonington and to the north in Plainfield have tested negative. People in the immediate area surrounding the forest should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors.
Monitoring and risk assessment for EEE emphasizes mosquito trapping and testing results. The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday – Thursday nights at each site every ten days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date. Each pool is tested for the presence of viruses of public health importance. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES website at ct.gov/caes.
For information on EEE and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at ct.gov/mosquito. Mosquito pools that test positive for EEE and WNV, as well as human cases of these illnesses, will also be posted on the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.