Maine health officials are warning about an active season for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has not reported any activity in the state for EEE, but officials are urging residents and visitors to minimize risk, in light of increases seen in other Northeast states, including Massachusetts, where four cases and one death have been reported.

“Although no human cases of EEE have been reported in Maine since 2015, it is important for all Mainers to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah said in a statement Thursday. “We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors while taking extra precautions to protect their health.”

Many states, although not Maine, also have seen positive results in humans and mosquitoes for West Nile virus, which causes symptoms similar to EEE.

CDC officials said people should minimize outdoor activity from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors, people should use an EPA-approved insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing with Permethrin and manage mosquitoes around their property.

EEE was first detected in birds in Maine in 2001. The illness is rare but serious. Those who develop symptoms may experience mild flu-like illness to high fever, headache, stiff neck and decreased consciousness.

About one in every three individuals who are infected with EEE dies and many of those who recover experience lasting health problems. Individuals with symptoms suggesting an EEE infection should contact their physician immediately, although there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for either EEE or West Nile virus.

More information on preventing EEE and WNV is available on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/EEE/ or www.cdc.gov/westnile.


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