Last week, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) reported that the threat of acquiring Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), has been greatly reduced. The EEE virus is spread through mosquitoes that carry and then infect humans with it.
The risk is calculated through trapping a large sample population of mosquitoes at various town trap sites across the state, and then testing those mosquitoes for EEE virus, among other diseases such as West Nile virus or Jamestown Canyon virus, as shown by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s cumulative mosquito testing report.
The University of Connecticut has responded to the report by lifting its requirement for athletics and other events to be rescheduled to times before sunset.
“With this updated information and guidance, the university is lifting its recommendation to reschedule outdoor activities and events scheduled to occur between dusk and dawn,” said theUniversity of Connecticut communications department.
Teresa Dominguez, the director of Environmental Health and Safety at UConn, says that the University will still continue to make recommendations for the campus community under the guidance of the Connecticut Department of Health.
“The University has been following, and would continue to follow, guidance from the CT Department of Public Health and local boards of health, including the Eastern Highlands Health District for the Storrs campus, to develop recommendations for the university community,” said Dominguez.
While most people infected by the EEE virus do not become ill, symptoms can still occur in others, and can show from three to 10 days after the initial bite by an infected mosquito.
“Most people infected with EEE virus do not become ill,” said the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website. “When symptoms do occur they can range from a mild fever and headache to coma. Other symptoms include high fever, fatigue, muscle aches, neck stiffness, tremors or confusion.”
The website also states that three out of 10 people who are infected with the EEE virus will die from it, and only about half of those infected that survive will recover completely.
While there is no vaccination to protect against the EEE virus yet; it is rare for humans to be infected by the virus.
“There is no vaccine because the EEE virus occurs so infrequently in people. (There is a vaccine for use in horses),” said the CT Mosquito Management website.
Dominguez states that the university, while lifting the recommendation for the rescheduling of events, would continue to recommend students take safety precautions, such as minimizing outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET and wearing socks, long pants and long sleeve shirts when outside, among other precautions.
“Besides having recommended the rescheduling of events, the university continues to recommend that students, faculty and staff take personal precautionary measures until we experience a mosquito-killing ‘hard frost,’” said Dominguez.
Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.