Health Dept: EEE Threat Continues

09/25/12 12:30PM By Jane Lindholm, Patti Daniels
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AP/Pat Wellenbach
A Cattail mosquito is inspected at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in South Portland, Maine. Cattail mosquitoes can transmit EEE and West Nile virus to humans.

Health Commissioner Harry Chen says spraying in Brandon and Whiting last week was successful in reducing the mosquito populations in those areas.

The state initiated the pesticide spraying after two Vermonters were diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Both men died from the illness, which is spread by infected mosquitoes.

Dr. Chen says "the challenge about Eastern Equine Encephalitis is it's absolutely unpredictable. So it may be here this year and may be gone next year."

 Chen says discussions have already started about how to improve mosquito monitoring going forward, discussions about "how we're going to have more timely access to information for me to make those decisions, for the mosquito districts to make those decisions, and then ultimately to get that information out to Vermonters."

Chen would like to see more stable funding for research and prevention of mosquito-borne illnesses in the future and he's reached out to officials in both state and federal government about resources for next year.


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