BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Health Officer provided the following message after a routine testing by the Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control found a mosquito pool in Berkeley Heights that tested positive to Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The positive mosquito pool was found in the Emerson Lane area near the Warren and Watchung border.
Today, Union County Mosquito Control Bureau in conjunction with Township of Berkeley Heights issued a notification that the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) risk level has been raised to moderate. EEE is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus that can affect people of all ages. EEE is generally spread to humans through the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group; however, people under the age of 15 are at particular risk. EEE does not occur every year, but based on the mosquito sampling, a moderate risk of occurrence of human cases currently exists. The types of mosquitoes most likely to transmit EEE infection are most active between the hours of dusk, the time period between when the sun sets and it gets completely dark, and dawn, the time before the appearance of good sun light in the morning.
It has been recommended for people in communities at critical, high and moderate risk for EEE to take personal precautions against mosquito bites.
Along with staying indoors during dusk and dawn, other steps families can take to reduce the risk of EEE include using EPA-approved bug spray, wearing long sleeves and pants while outdoors, covering garbage cans, removing bird baths, and discarding auto tires or other containers that hold water.
For more information on EEE risk visit the NJ Department of Health website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/eee.shtml
Union County will continue to aggressively spray throughout the Township, particularly areas most prone to heavy mosquito populations.
“We strongly encourage residents to use caution when outside,” said Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Padovano. “Wear protective clothing, get rid of standing water around your house, and be sure to use adequate bug spray.”
“EEE is a very rare but serious disease,” added Mayor Angie Devanney. “Children under the age of 15 and adults over the age of 50 should take extra precautions. We are working closely with Union County and our Berkeley Heights Health Officer to monitor the situation.”