NEW HAVEN / SOUTH WINDSOR — Cities and towns are taking action to stop the spread of EEE as state scientists continue the tedious task of tracking the virus one mosquito at a time.
The heightened threat of EEE has prompted South Windsor to authorized emergency mosquito spraying at town properties Wednesday. That includes schools and parks, which will close at 5:30 PM until further notice.
“This year the conditions are more lining up in favor of EEE virus,” said the Director of Connecticut’s Mosquito Surveillance Program, Philip Armstrong.
Across the state, mosquitoes are under the microscope. John Shepard is a scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven. He said they have the capacity to test around 15,000 mosquitoes a day.
Before they get tested they get trapped at 92 locations statewide. Shepard said when analyzing the bugs they, “Put them into samples for testing based on the trap type, the site location, date of collection and the species.”
Mosquitoes flagged for viruses like EEE and West Nile are sent to an on-site high-containment lab for final testing.
The EEE virus begins in birds.
“The way that the mosquitoes get infected is they feed on an infected bird,” said Armstrong.
Towns are warning residents. Krista Callery of Enfield said, “I’m a little worried because I have a daughter who plays outside and I told her if you are going outside at night time make sure you put your bug spray on.”
In South Windsor, messages were sent from the Health Department, the Superintendent and Parks & Recreation. William Roy of South Windsor said, “I’d be scared if it’s going to spread and start killing people. I’m over 55 and I have grandkids. Sure. I don’t want to see anything happen or something we can’t control and people start dropping like flies.”
A mosquito tested positive for Triple-E in the Burgess Road trap area of South Windsor. The town is offering free ‘mosquito dunks’ for property owners with standing water. South Windsor Town Manager Matthew Galligan said, “You throw it into the water and it creates a film over the top that inhibits the actual larvae from growing.”
On average, there are 7 human cases of Triple-E each year across the country. This year, there’s been two in Connecticut alone. Both were deadly.