Maine CDC Press Release

September 4, 2014

Additional Mosquito Pools Test Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

AUGUSTA – Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in three additional mosquito pools in York County, bringing the total number of positive tests to four in 2014. In addition, an emu from the Sebago Lake region in Cumberland County tested positive for EEE, according to the Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The animal was not vaccinated.

Regionally, all of our surrounding states have also identified EEE. Thus far, the only human case has been reported in New Hampshire.

EEE, which is carried by mosquitoes, is usually a fatal viral disease in horses, llamas, alpacas, emus and ostriches, according to State Veterinarian Dr. Michele Walsh. "It is important for people to understand that the only way a human can get EEE is from a bite of an infected mosquito." "EEE is a very serious illness in humans" said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of Maine CDC. "Mainers must be aware of the risks and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and protect against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses."

Mainers can take steps to protect themselves and their equines by:

  • Wearing long sleeves and long pants
  • Using an EPA approved repellent on skin and clothes and always following the instructions on the label
  • Taking extra precautions at dusk and dawn
  • Using screens on your windows and doors
  • Draining artificial sources of standing water where you live, work, and play
  • Vaccinating horses, llamas and emus

EEE virus is carried by mosquitoes, which pick it up from infected wild birds. The virus replicates in birds, which act as natural reservoirs for the disease.

Horses, llamas, and emus can be protected from EEE through vaccination, said Walsh. There is no vaccine or treatment for humans, so preventing mosquito bites is very important.

The Maine CDC will continue to update information on mosquito-borne disease surveillance in Maine on a weekly basis. These reports are posted every Monday from May through September at http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/arboviral-surveillance.shtml Future positive tests will be announced through this report.

Information on pesticides and repellents is available at the Maine Board of Pesticides Control website at: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/public/index.htm#mosquito