What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?

EEE is a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Though most infected with EEE show no symptoms, severe cases may develop encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. EEE is a rare human illness with only a few cases in North America occurring each year. EEE can also cause disease in captive birds like pheasants and emus, as well as livestock, deer, dogs, and reptiles and amphibians.

What can I do to protect myself?

Just like with West Nile Virus, taking steps to prevent mosquito bites and reducing mosquito breeding grounds around your home are good ways of protecting yourself from contracting any illness transmitted by mosquitoes. These include;

  • wearing an insect repellant containing DEET
  • removing or frequently dumping sources of standing water around your home
  • wearing clothing in light colours that fully covers arms and legs
  • ensuring screens and doors fit tightly and are in good repair to limit mosquito access to your home

For more information on protecting yourself from illnesses spread by mosquitoes, please see Timiskaing Health Unit’s information on West Nile Virus.

What is Timiskaming Health Unit doing?

Timiskaming Health Unit along with other health units across Ontario monitors EEE by tracking mosquito populations in the area. Throughout the summer months, Timiskaming Health Unit traps mosquitoes at various locations throughout the region and sends them away to be identified and tested for EEE.

So far in the 2012 sampling season, none of the mosquitoes collected by Timiskaming Health Unit have tested positive for EEE, however mosquito species capable of carrying the virus can be found in the area. At this time, EEE has not been reported in mosquito or horse populations anywhere in Ontario, however the virus has been found in the United States.

For more information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/