Two weeks ago, the school posted an announcement on the Healthy & Well page of the AOF website about a reported increase of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in mosquitoes in some parts of Connecticut with some recommendations from the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) and the CDC on ways to help prevent the disease.
To date, only two human cases of the disease have been reported in CT, both in southeastern coastal towns. Last week, a mosquito tested positive for the EEE virus in South Windsor, a town across the CT river and about 45 minutes away from AOF. The mosquito that tested positive for the virus in South Windsor is one that, according to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), only bites birds.
We have been monitoring the situation and have also consulted with Avon Public Schools and the FVHD. While there is still no direct threat in the Avon area, according to the FVHD, the school is making sure that all sports teams are finishing up practices well before dusk. Our Athletic Directors are also working with other schools to adjust the start times of some athletic competitions, as needed. This is being done in order to limit exposure to mosquitoes between dusk and dawn, as recommended by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
As a reminder, the following are recommendations that come from the Center for Disease Control for the prevention of EEE:
Use insect repellent (DEET) - available at the Health Center, Athletic Trainers, Athletic Directors, and some coaches
Wear long sleeves and pants, especially between dusk and dawn
Minimize outdoor activity between dusk and dawn
Report any damaged window screens that may allow insects to enter a building
Avoid congregating near areas of standing water
Students and employees have been given this information as well. Although we are taking these precautionary measures, please remember that EEE is a very rare disease. In the US, approximately 5-10 human cases of EEE are reported annually. The virus is found in birds that live in fresh-water swamps and is generally found only in these birds and in mosquitoes that bite these birds, not people. “The good news is that as we continue to track and test mosquitoes throughout Connecticut, we are seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of mosquitoes testing positive for this virus as the cooler weather approaches" (Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicx).
We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and will provide updates as necessary. For more information about EEE please refer to this fact sheet (can we link this to the “fact sheet” provided by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Health Center.