ROXBURY, NJ - Mosquitoes in Roxbury were found to be infected with the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE), a pathogen that - in serious cases - can cause death in humans, according to Morris County officials.

The township was one of three in Morris County where the EEE virus was found. The other positive sampling results came from Jefferson and Wharton, according to the county. It said that, of 464 mosquito samples taken,10 tested positive for the virus.

A horse in Morris Township tested positive for the EEE virus, but officials said they could not determine the location of the animal when it was bitten by the infected mosquito.

Sign Up for Roxbury Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

EEE is a "rare but serious viral infection," said county officials. The 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, according to the state Department of Health.

The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control is continuing to spray for mosquitoes and collect samples, which are being tested for both West Nile Virus and EEE. Most recently, spraying took place in Chester Township on Sept. 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 are scheduled to be treated today.

People are being warned to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Officials offered 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 show up three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, according to the DOH. They include fever, headache, sore throat, stiff neck, lack of energy, muscle aches and confusion - which can be mild. In severe cases, there can 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. People are being advised to contact health care professionals with questions or concerns.