The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has closed areas of Pachaug State Forest to the public due to the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in mosquitoes that feed on humans.
Some mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus feed on horses and birds.
Pachaug State Forest is located in Voluntown, CT and is the largest state forest in Connecticut. It is a popular camping and hiking location.
Due to the discovery of mosquitoes carrying Eastern equine encephalitis, the DEEP has closed the Mt. Misery and Frog Hollow Horse campgrounds until further notice.
Signs have been posted in this portion of the forest by DEEP staff advising visitors of the closure. Click on this link for a list of alternative camping areas/outdoor recreational areas http://www.ct.gov/deep
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms.”
To read more about the virus, click here http://www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/index.html
The state will conduct “ultra low-volume” ground spraying of pesticides affecting adult mosquitoes in the area to reduce the number of mosquitoes.
Residents in adjacent towns have also been asked to limit their activities outdoors.
These actions were determined in conjunction with the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station (CAES) and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
The portion of the park to be treated is commonly known as the Mt. Misery or Chapman area and will encompass the following: the forest interior roads and campground areas (all on state property) bound by east of Rt. 201, north of Rt. 138, west of Rt. 49 and south of Hell Hollow Road.
The DEEP previously closed two camping areas, on Aug. 21, when the EEE virus was detected in mosquitoes.
“Based on the continued presence of EEE in this portion of Pachaug State Forest, and in consultation with the mosquito management team, it was decided to close a larger area of the forest and to spray in an attempt to minimize the number of mosquitoes in the vicinity,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “CAES will trap and test mosquitoes both before and after tonight’s spraying so that we have sound information to assist us in deciding on our next course of action.”
“EEE can be a very serious disease, so it’s extremely important that the public heed the closure of the affected area of the Pachaug State Forest to reduce the risk of being bitten by infected mosquitoes,” said DPH Commissioner, Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Even after the spraying for mosquitoes, people should continue to do what they can to prevent mosquito bites, especially in the communities surrounding the forest.”
The DPH also recommends that communities around the forest limit any outdoor activities scheduled after 7 p.m. (or more them indoors), saying mosquitoes are less active earlier in the day.
“We continue to trap mosquitoes infected with the EEE virus and in the absence of any intervention, the virus is likely to build-up to higher levels in the coming weeks increasing the threat for human exposure,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist at CAES and director of the mosquito trapping program. “We have no indication that the EEE virus has expanded beyond the Pachaug State Forest at this time, as all other trapping sites throughout the state have tested negative for the EEE virus.”
Horses also at risk
Dr. Mary Jane Lis, State Veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture reminds horse owners to review vaccination records with their veterinarians to ensure that EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) vaccinations are current and to take precautions against mosquito bites, especially when riding in areas with known infected mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes that have currently tested positive for EEE were trapped in Voluntown on Aug. 21 and 22, 2013.
Mosquitoes with EEE were previously identified by the CAES at the same site on July 10, July 17, and Aug. 13.
While those EEE-infected mosquitoes trapped on July 10 and July 17 were limited to a bird-feeding species, the mosquitoes trapped on Aug. 13, 21, and 22 include both bird-feeding mosquitoes and those that feed on birds and people.
For information on EEE and WNV and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at www.ct.gov/mosquito
Posted August 27, 2013 based on a press release as edited by and added to by HTNP News Editor Brenda Sullivan
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