MORRISTOWN, NJ - There has been an increase of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus detected in New Jersey, stated government officials. In Morris County, out of 464 mosquito samples taken,10 of those samples have tested positive for the EEE virus.
The positive samples were found in Jefferson, Roxbury and Wharton, they said. The horse, which also tested positive for the EEE virus was in Morris Township, although the location the horse was in, when bitten, could not be determined.
According to officials, EEE is a "rare but serious viral infection. This disease is most common in the eastern half of the United States and is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE can affect humans, horses and some birds. The risk of getting EEE is highest from late July through early October. (NJ DOH)".
The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control will continue to spray for mosquitoes and collect samples, they said. Samples will be tested for both West Nile Virus and EEE. Most recently, spraying took play in Chester Township on September 16. Bridge Avenue in Chatham Township, North Main Street in Long Hill, Main Street in Long Hill, Passaic River Park in Long Hill, as well as Weldon Road in Jefferson will be treated on September 25 between the hours of 7:30am - 10am.
Residents should also protect themselves from mosquito bites. Officials offer the following ways to protect yourself:
- Use an EPA Registered insect repellent
- Avoid high mosquito activity times which are at dawn and dusk
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants
- Remove standing water from your property
- Report standing water to local mosquito control agency
Symptoms of EEE, according to the New Jersey Department of Health, show up 3 to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, stiff neck, lack of energy, muscle aches, confusion which can be mild. In severe cases, there could be swelling of the brain which can lead to coma, convulsions and death.
EEE is spread only through mosquitos and can be diagnosed though a blood test. Contact your health care professional with questions or concerns.