Mosquitoes in York County have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, the first time the virus has been detected in Maine since 2019, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

The agency warned Maine residents to take precautions against mosquito bites that can transmit a number of viruses.

The last known human case of EEE was reported in 2015. There have been no confirmed human cases of mosquito-borne illnesses in Maine this year.

Mosquitoes in Maine can transmit EEE, West Nile virus and Jamestown Canyon virus. The viruses spread from the bite of an infected mosquito, but cannot transmit from human to human.

Symptoms of EEE include fever, flu-like symptoms and, in severe cases, encephalitis and meningitis. EEE can be fatal, although there are also asymptomatic cases.

To prevent mosquito-caused viral infections, the Maine CDC recommends wearing long sleeves and long pants, using insect repellent and taking extra precautions at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. On your property, drain standing water, where mosquitos lay eggs, such as bird baths, wheelbarrows and pet water dishes.

To help monitor the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, the Maine CDC tests mosquito pools – groups of up to 50 mosquitoes collected – throughout the summer, starting in July. The mosquitoes that tested positive for EEE were collected in Lebanon.

Last month, mosquitoes in York County tested positive for Jamestown Canyon Virus, or JCV. It also was the first time that virus had been detected in the state since 2019.

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