What to Know
- Two counties in New York have found mosquitoes that tested positive for carrying the potentially deadly EEE virus
- Officials in Rockland County and Long Island’s Suffolk County both confirmed to have samples infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- EEE can lead to flu-like symptoms including headaches, high fever, joint and muscle pain, confusion and vomiting; 10 have died this year
Two counties in New York have found mosquitoes that tested positive for carrying the potentially deadly EEE virus.
Officials in Rockland County and Long Island’s Suffolk County both confirmed to have samples infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis — the illness that has killed 10 people nationwide this year.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said the mosquitoes carrying the disease were collected from a trap in Orangetown on September 17 as a part of the county’s surveillance efforts. These are the first insects found to be carrying the illness in the county.
"The Rockland County Health Department's mosquito control program will continue to monitor known mosquito breeding sites, including sites near where these infected mosquitoes were found,” Dr. Ruppert said.
The biting bugs found with EEE in Suffolk County were discovered in the Manorville area on September 18. An additional mosquito also tested positive for West Nile Virus in that sample as well.
This marks the seventh case of EEE to be found in Suffolk County, and 74th to be carrying West Nile.
“We don’t want people to be alarmed but rather informed,” said health commissioner Dr. James Tomarken. “We will be treating the Manorville area for mosquitoes this weekend, and we encourage residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
No human cases have been reported in either Rockland County or Suffolk County. Two people in Suffolk County have been infected with West Nile virus this year.
Earlier this month, mutliple people in New Jersey were confirmed to be infected with the mosquito-borne illness that has been spreading across the region.
The most recent New Jersey cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which people under the age of 15 or over 50 are particularly susceptible to, were found in Atlantic and Union counties. The first human case in the state was discovered in Somerset County in August.
Union County officials discovered a mosquito carrying EEE inside traps set up for West Nile Virus.
Those who have the virus may never actually get sick, but for others it can lead to flu-like symptoms including strong headaches, sudden high fever, joint and muscle pain, confusion, vomiting and chills that come about three to 15 days after the infected mosquito bites. In very rare severe cases, it can cause an inflammation of the brain — and a third of people who have contracted EEE have died, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Those in the affected areas who have been bitten and are experiencing the symptoms are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
In total, ten people have died around the country and dozens more have been infected. The latest reported death was in Massachusetts.