ATLANTIC COUNTY — The first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in an Atlantic County resident has been confirmed by the New Jersey Department of Health.
Officials from Atlantic County urge residents to continue to take the proper steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is one of several mosquito-borne illnesses that also include the West Nile Virus. Two residents have been confirmed to have West Nile Virus. All three individuals are currently under medical care.
“This is an extremely active season for mosquito-borne illness, not only in New Jersey but throughout the country,” Atlantic County Public Health Officer Patricia Diamond said.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been detected in 65 mosquito samples in 13 New Jersey counties. Other human cases have been confirmed in Somerset and Union counties. Eastern Equine Encephalitis has caused five deaths in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the transmission of EEE is common in and around swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast state, and in the Great Lakes region.
Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness, however, some can be very ill. Severe cases of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite. The illness may then progress to disorientation, seizures, or coma.
Diamond noted that while there is no EEE vaccine for humans, individuals can help reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, removing standing water from their surroundings, cleaning gutters of water and debris, and installing and repairing window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of dwellings.
Infections are seasonal, mostly from late spring through early fall. Cases rarely occur in winter.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said. “We all need to do our best to ‘fight the bite.’ And anyone who experiences symptoms following a mosquito bite should seek medical assistance.”
For more information about Easter Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, visit aclink.org/publichealth or call the Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.
If you need assistance in removing stagnant puddles or floodwater from your property, call the Office of Mosquito Control at 609-645-5948.