Sept. 18, 2015
OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department Medical Director Christina Liepke, MD announced today the confirmation of the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Oswego County this year.
The individual, who is an adult resident of the town of Albion, is currently hospitalized and is listed in critical condition. To comply with federal law and protect the privacy of this patient and of the family, additional details about the individual cannot be shared with the public.
No EEE was detected in any of the mosquito surveillance traps in the Albion area. County and state health officials are investigating possible sources of the patient’s infection and continuing surveillance.
Dr. Liepke explained that EEE is a rare but serious viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms usually start 5 to 15 days after the bite and can include fever headache, and vomiting. Illness can progress to altered mental status, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. Those at greatest risk for infection with this virus include the very young, the elderly and people who spend a lot of time outdoors.
“Although mosquito populations are decreasing, there is still the possibility that those remaining may be infected with the EEE or West Nile viruses,” said Oswego County Director of Patient Services Judy Lester. “People in all areas of Oswego County must continue to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites until we have a hard frost.”
She continued, “People should also stay away from areas where mosquitoes concentrate and limit outside activities between dusk and dawn.”
Personal protection measures include:
Using insect repellent. Those containing DEET are the most effective, but should be used with caution and according to label instructions. Products containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective.
Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and shoes and socks when outdoors.
Emptying pails, containers, swimming pool covers and other outdoor items that hold water around the home and yard.
Replacing or repairing broken screens.
For more information about EEE virus transmission or about personal protection measures, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. or visit the Oswego County Health Department’s Web site at www.oswegocounty.com/health. After 4 p.m., call 341-0086 and ask to speak to the Environmental Supervisor.
The New York State Department of Health Web site also has information at www.health.state.ny.us.
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