The state DEEP spent hours spraying pesticide in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown on Tuesday night in an effort to kill off mosquitoes that keep testing positive for the deadly virus. The area is closed now closed to visitors and will remain closed indefinitely.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reopening most areas of Pachaug State Forest that have been closed to the public because of the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosquitoes since August 27.
The Mt. Misery campground and Horse Camp, also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp, will remain closed until further notice.
DEEP is reopening other areas of the forest because of fewer mosquitoes and less "virus activity."
“After consulting with both the Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, we feel confident opening this area of the forest back up to recreational use and previously scheduled commercial timber operations,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said in a statement. “As a precaution, we have decided to keep the campgrounds closed for the time being. Connecticut has many other campgrounds available for those planning a camping trip in the days ahead and we encourage folks to continue to enjoy the outdoors this season – while taking proper precautions to minimize mosquito bites.”
DEEP officials had sprayed to reduce the number of mosquitoes that might carry the illness, which could be fatal for people.
On August 21, DEEP closed two of its campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest because of EEE andsaid it could have been months before the infected mosquitoes are gone.
Signs remain posted in the forest and visitors should continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
The mosquitoes that have tested positive for EEE were trapped in Voluntown on Aug. 21 and 22. Mosquitoes with EEE were previously identified at the same site on July 10, July 17 and Aug. 13.
While infected mosquitoes trapped on July 10 and July 17 were limited to a bird-feeding species, the mosquitoes trapped on Aug. 13, 21, and 22 include both bird-feeding mosquitoes and those that feed on birds and people.
Visit the DEEP website for more information or to find alternate camping and recreation areas.