A human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been reported in Connecticut.
The state Department of Public Health announced an adult from East Lyme has tested positive for EEE, the first human case in Connecticut this season.
EEE is a rare disease, but 30 percent of people who catch it die, and survivors typically suffer ongoing neurological problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is the second human case of EEE ever reported in Connecticut, according to DPH. The first case was in fall 2013.
"This particular person is from East Lyme and became ill the last week of August and that’s important because that means that that person was bitten by a mosquito probably sometime the last week of August," explained Dr. Matthew Cartter, MPH, director of Infectious Diseases at the CT Department of Public Health.
He went on to say that the cooler nights and shorter days mean mosquitoes are much less active.
"The risk of coming in contact with a mosquito that’s infected with this virus is going down every day," he explained.
Symptoms of EEE include headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. It may then progress with disorientation, seizures and coma.
There is no specific treatment for EEE.
The disease has been found in mosquitos in 12 towns, including Chester, Haddam, Hampton, Groton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Madison, North Stonington, Plainfield, Shelton, Stonington, and Voluntown. Horses have tested positive for EEE in Colchester and Columbia.
The Ledge Light Health District, which services East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington, and Waterford, has warned residents to limit outdoor time during peak mosquito hours after multiple mosquitoes in the area tested positive for the disease.
DPH has urged residents to avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, and take measures to avoid mosquito bites. State officials said the mosquitoes that carry the virus are active until the first heavy frost.
"Keep taking those precautions. Prevent mosquito bites. Do what you can for kids. Keep and eye on them and try to minimize the time outdoors, especially at night," Cartter advised.
There have been eight human cases of EEE in neighboring Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island, health officials said.