Farmington works to prevent EEE



Dangerous Bites– EEE is a disease spread by mosquitoes. It has recently affected many here in the eastern part of the states.

Sydney Bigelow, Copy & Design Chief

Schools, companies, and citizens among the eastern coast have faced the eastern equine encephalitis virus, better known as EEE. Spread through mosquitoes, the virus spiked in the 2019 summer, responsible for three deaths in Connecticut alone.
“We have had four human cases of EEE, three of which were fatal. All four were most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes sometime between August 11, 2019 and September 8, 2019, which was the peak period of mosquito activity in Connecticut. All four residents live in a part of eastern Connecticut where EEE activity has not been a problem before this summer,” Department of Public Health (DPH) state epidemiologist Matthew Cartter said.
The virus is transmitted through a bite of the Culiseta melanura mosquito. The virus itself is an inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, fever, and dizziness. In severe cases, it can lead to a coma or death. One of the main problems is that affected individuals often do not notice any health issues until the brain swelling is irreversible, hence the importance of spreading awareness.
In Farmington, the majority of action involves after-school activities. Coaches encourage players to protect themselves from mosquitoes during outdoor practices and games. Additionally, games occurring during dusk, a very common time for appearance of mosquitoes, have been moved to earlier times.
“Our Athletic Director has collaborated with our coaching staff to ensure precautions such as the use of insect repellent as well as wearing appropriate clothing to cover skin occurs to avoid mosquito bites,” high school nurse Katherine Saunders said.
Farmington has also focused on awareness outside of the high school athletic community. The school system has used their online platform to spread information about the mosquitoes and signs of the disease.
“From the onset of reporting, our school and athletics have communicated extensively [with]… expert agencies such as the Farmington Valley Health Department, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and international organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for guidance,” Principal Scott Hurwitz said.
There is very little information released about the EEE virus. With the increase of affected people, more research will be conducted in order to better understand prevention and treatment. The town will act accordingly and follow the suggestions of the CDC.