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September 22, 2018

EEE Claims New Haven Girl’s Life


The deadly illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis has taken its ultimate toll.  A four five year old girl from New Haven died Sunday from the mosquito-borne disease.

There’s been no official announcement of her death, but it was spread via a social media page set up to support the girl’s recovery from the illness.

(UPDATE: Maggie Sue Gleinster Wilcox’s obituary is here.)

About one in three people who get Eastern Equine Encephalitis die from it. Including this one, only four cases of EEE have been reported in New York State since 1971.  All four people died.

EEE is always a summertime threat in Oswego County, given its large, swampy areas.  This year, the county announced finding EEE in two mosquito pools and, as it announced the news of the girl’s illness, it also said that a horse had died from the disease.

The virus has turned up in neighboring Oneida and Madison counties as well this year.

EEE is spread by mosquitoes.  As of the end of last week, Oswego County was not intending to spray by airplane to kill the mosquitoes.

In each news release about the threat of EEE, county officials offer precautions against the virus:

“Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County public health director: “We are in mosquito season, so residents have to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Staying away from areas where mosquitoes concentrate and limiting outside activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active are two of the best personal protection measures people can take.”

Other precautions include:

•    Wear shoes, socks, long pants with bottoms tucked into boots or socks, and a long sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time and at dawn and dusk.
•    Use mosquito repellent over clothes.  Repellants containing DEET are the most effective, but should be used with caution and according to label instructions.
•    Repair or replace broken screens in doors and windows.

Dr. Norfleet added, “The EEE virus cannot be transferred by human to human contact or by horse to human contact. The only way to contract the disease is from a mosquito bite. We are strongly urging residents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, whether they are adults or children.”

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