Cases of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been detected in mosquitoes in Hampton Roads, the City of Suffolk confirmed on Wednesday.

Summer is officially here, which means beach days, swimming pools, and (unfortunately) mosquitoes. This year, researchers are urging Virginia residents to take special precautions to protect themselves after mosquitoes in the Hampton Roads area tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). According to Suffolk officials, mosquitoes collected in the North Street, Riverview, and Dumville Lane areas tested positive for WNV, while mosquitoes collected around Cove Point and Lamb Avenue tested positive for EEE.

West Nile Virus

WNV is a pretty sneaky disease. In fact, up to 80 percent of people who are infected experience few to no symptoms at all. Those who exhibit extreme symptoms, however, can experience stupor, coma, convulsions, tremors, muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis, or vision loss. Because there isn’t a definitive way to prevent or treat WNV, it’s important to use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, if possible.

The CDC recommends using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below: • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside of the US) • DEET • IR3535 • 2-undercanone • Oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol (PMD)

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Unlike WNV, EEE only affects five to 10 Americans annually. EEE begins with mild flu-like symptoms that progress into seizures, disorientation, coma, and encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain.) According to the CDC, one third of those cases result in death.

Prevention Tips

In addition to wearing insect repellent, Virginia residents can decrease their chances of becoming infected with a mosquito-related disease by following the below recommendations:

• Staying indoors during mosquito hour (this is usually one hour before dusk and one hour before dawn)

• Removing unnecessary stagnant water (aka tires, bowls, puddles, bird baths)

• Wearing loose, light-colored clothing or permethrin-treated clothing

• Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around the home (this includes low-lying areas and ditches)

Free Mosquito Dunks are available to Suffolk residents and can be found at the local Suffolk Fire Rescue Stations 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, the Media & Community Relations Department at City Hall, Whaleyville Community Center, East Suffolk Recreation Center, and all three Suffolk Public Libraries.

Those who are interested in receiving a free Mosquito Dunk must be 18 years of age or older, have proof of residence in the City of Suffolk, proper picture identification, and be willing to sign the “Information Sheet” at the pick-up location.

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe from mosquito-related illnesses, contact Suffolk Mosquito Control's superintendent Charles Abadam at cabadam@suffolkva.us.

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