EEE persists as temperatures fall

The state has again warned Connecticut residents about Eastern equine encephalitis.

EEE-infected mosquitoes and cases of EEE infection involving humans and horses have been reported in Shelton, Chester, Colchester, Columbia, East Lyme, Groton, Haddam, Hampton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Lyme, Madison, Montville, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Plainfield, Salem, South Windsor, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.

Two human cases have been reported in recent weeks. An adult from East Lyme who was diagnosed with EEE in late August became the first Connecticut resident to die from the infection since 2013.

On Thursday, state highway alert signs were flashing warnings about the mosquito-borne infection on Fairfield County roadways.

But warnings are not enough, according to 20 legislators who signed a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont Friday asking that the Department of Energy and Envrionmental Proection look into aerial spraying of inseticide in areas where high concentrations of EEE have been found.

“With several weeks remainging until the outbreak will naturally end, we believe this spraying would give peace of mind to families across Connecticut,” the legislators wrote.

“Although mosquito numbers are declining with the onset of cool weather, we continue to detect EEE virus in communities in eastern Connecticut,” said Dr. Philip Armstrong, Medical Entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). “There is continued risk for mosquito-borne diseases until the first hard freeze when mosquito activity ends.”

High school sporting events such as football games have been moved away from twilight hours in eastern Connecticut, and in Weston Friday night.

“Mosquitoes are still active and residents should continue to take measures to prevent mosquito bites, especially during episodes of unseasonably warm weather as predicted for this weekend,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases at the CAES. “This includes applying insect repellent and covering bare skin, especially in wooded areas and during dusk and dawn when biting mosquitoes are most active.”