Two weeks following the first report in New York state of a human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Onondaga County, health officials from two other upstate counties report human and equine cases of the dangerous mosquito borne virus.

 Culiseta melanura/CDC
Culiseta melanura/CDC

Oswego County Health Department Medical Director Christina Liepke, MD announced Friday the confirmation of the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a resident of the town of Albion.

The patient is currently hospitalized and is listed in critical condition.

No EEE was detected in any of the mosquito surveillance traps in the Albion area. County and state health officials are investigating possible sources of the patient’s infection and continuing surveillance.

“Although mosquito populations are decreasing, there is still the possibility that those remaining may be infected with the EEE or West Nile viruses,” said Oswego County Director of Patient Services Judy Lester. “People in all areas of Oswego County must continue to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites until we have a hard frost.”

She continued, “People should also stay away from areas where mosquitoes concentrate and limit outside activities between dusk and dawn.”

In addition, north of Oswego County, Wayne County Public Health (WCPH) Department has received notification from the New York State Department of Health Arbovirus Laboratory of a positive report of EEE in a horse in the Town of Galen in Wayne County.

Due to the fact that four horses died of EEE in September 2014, Wayne County Public Health is actively trapping mosquitoes in the Town of Rose and Galen and sending them for testing on a weekly basis. Currently no pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE or West Nile Virus (WNV). Unvaccinated horses are very vulnerable to the EEE virus (EEEV) and die from the disease if infected. It is important to understand that even though the mosquito pools tested for EEE and WNV have resulted as negative, the death of a horse from EEE indicates there are mosquitoes in Wayne County carrying the EEEV.

EEE is a rare but serious viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms usually start 5 to 15 days after the bite and can include fever headache, and vomiting. Illness can progress to altered mental status, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. Those at greatest risk for infection with this virus include the very young, the elderly and people who spend a lot of time outdoors.

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