EEE: Ways to prevent rare but deadly mosquito-borne virus

Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 @ 12:18 PM

At least three people in the United States have died after contracting a rare but deadly mosquito-borne virus in Michigan and Rhode Island.

Local officials say no cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been reported, but the types of mosquitoes that carry it can be found in Montgomery County.

The virus can be contracted from mosquitoes that bite an infected bird then bite a person, said Dan Suffoletto, Public Information Supervisor for Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health.

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“It is a concern along with other mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile virus, Zika, so that’s why we really wanna make sure people understand how to protect themselves against mosquitoes,” he said. “Don’t take mosquito protection lightly, you wanna take it seriously and go through the steps to make sure you’re protected.”

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Although there’s no monitoring the virus directly, it’s typically most prevalent in freshwater marshy areas, Suffoletto said.

“The CDC along with the Ohio Department of Health and ourselves do monitor the mosquito population throughout the nation and we can see where trends are developing but really it’s still going to boil down to your individual mosquito protection because there’s no way to eliminate mosquitoes from our area completely.”

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Suffoletto says the only thing you can really do to prevent EEE is practice mosquito protection.

“Wearing long sleeves when you’re out, using EPA approved mosquito repellent, removing standing water in your yards, all those things will go a long way to protect yourself,” he said. “There’s no way to tell if you’re bitten by a mosquito if it may have that virus or any other virus so you want to monitor yourself.”