Triple E Virus Found in CT Mosquitos

As the leaves change color and frosty winds blow in, residents of New England can sigh with relief that mosquito season is over. This year has been of particular note, as Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (the Triple E Virus or EEE) was first detected in Massachusetts and has caused three deaths in Connecticut.
The Triple E Virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Once a person is bitten by a mosquito carrying EEE, symptoms can take four to ten days to appear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms might include sudden headaches, high fevers, chills, and vomiting. As time passes, these symptoms may develop into potentially fatal conditions such as encephalitis (swelling in the brain), seizures, and even coma. Approximately one third of people diagnosed with EEE do not survive; the remaining two thirds often experience varying degrees of brain damage.
The Triple E Virus is most prevalent in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, with five to ten cases reported per year. EEE can spread as long as mosquitoes are alive outside, which is typically from late spring to early fall in CT. This year marks the first time cases of EEE have been detected in humans in the state.
People who spend a lot of time in the woodlands have a greater chance of being infected with the Triple E Virus. Although mosquitos carrying EEE have not been found in the northwest corner of CT, the Health Center has already worked to educate community members about how to protect themselves. In an email to the school community, Dr. Jared Zelman, Medical Director, wrote, “Consider spending less time outside between dusk and dawn, and prevent mosquito (and tick) bites by covering bare skin and using insect repellent.”
On October 5, the football game against Salisbury was changed from a night to daytime game in order to allow students to be indoors during the dusk and evening hours. At the time, no cases of EEE nor affected mosquitos had been found in the school’s area. However, as the story unfolded, the school wished to proceed with caution.
If any concerns regarding the Triple E Virus arise, please contact Mr. Daniel Smith, Co-Director of Athletics Program, or Dr. Zelman.