LETTER: Be Safe When It Comes to Mosquitoes

The following is a letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,


In the past, EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) was a threat that loomed in distant, far away towns and states. However, just last week, several birds in Townsend tested positive for this fatal virus. The virus is transmitted from infected birds to humans by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, one-third of humans infected with the virus die, while those who survive suffer from varying degrees of permanent brain damage.

You can protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by staying inside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. If you must go outside, make sure to wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeves, pants, hats, and socks) and to spray your skin and clothes with insect repellent containing DEET. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so the public is encouraged to remove sources of still water in their yard, such as bird baths, plastic pools, and barrels.

If an infected mosquito bites you or a loved one, you can expect the symptoms to arise within four to ten days. Symptoms include a fever, chills, weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, lack of appetite, headache, nausea, vomiting, and restlessness. In rare cases, an infected person may have no symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms and have been recently been bit by a mosquito, you are encouraged to see your health care provider immediately. Currently there is no known cure for EEE. Treatment is directed towards managing the symptoms.

EEE remains a major threat until the first hard frost, when the mosquitoes die. It is strongly recommended that you take precautions to protect yourself and your family during these next few weeks.

-Meredith Abel


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