EAST LYME/COLCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Friday night football has now turned into Friday or Saturday afternoon football in many towns.
This as more mosquitoes test positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and an East Lyme resident – who first fell ill in August – is confirmed as the first human case of the potentially-deadly disease.
“My family wears repellents and so we’re not too concerned right now because the numbers aren’t large,” said Colchester resident, Marli Rudko.
But there is an elevated risk.
“State Department of Public Health is telling us this is the worst year since 2013 and that was the last time the state saw a human case,” said Russell Melmed, Director of Health for the Chatham Health District.
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but it may be worth a lot more in this case.
“Because there is no treatment or cure or vaccine for EEE, the best medicine is prevention,” said Melmed.
Last week, Colchester had the perimeter of the town’s recreation complex sprayed along the tree line. The complex is now closed an hour before dusk until dawn (when human-biting mosquitoes are most active).
“It’s been a means to create a barrier,” said James Paggioli, Director of Colchester Public Works. “Nothing is 100% effective, but it’s a means to minimize the risk.”
The town-wide celebration 57 Fest is also affected by all of this. It was supposed to go from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. It will now end at 6:30 p.m. and the fireworks have been postponed.
“The worst consequence of EEE infection is when it results in encephalitis, so people might notice that they’re getting a headache – a severe headache – that comes on suddenly. Gets worse. Nausea, vomiting, confusion,” said Melmed.
Residents are urged to take precautions like staying inside at dusk and dawn, wearing long-sleeved, tightly-woven clothing, and using mosquito repellent until the weather turns colder.
“That would be the final cure, just a hard frost,” said Paggioli.