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First case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year is detected in a chicken

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DNREC announces the first evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year has been detected.

The mosquito-transmitted disease was detected in a sentinel chicken in northern New Castle County at a sentinel chicken station sampled by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section.

It was confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory August 9.

Even though there have been no reported human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year in Delaware, DNREC notes the mosquito-transmitted disease remains active until colder autumn-like temperatures arrive in late October or later.

This case adds to five West Nile Virus positive sentinel chickens found at three other sentinel chicken monitoring stations in New Castle and Kent counties.

DNREC reminds everyone to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, apply insect repellent containing 10 to 30% DEET, and avoid mosquito prone areas around dusk, dawn, and night.

Draining or removing outdoor items that collect water also helps.

Most infected with the EEE virus show either no or mild symptoms, but symptoms usually start four to 10 days after being bitten by a mosquito with EEE.

Early symptoms can include headache, high fever, stiff neck, tremors or muscle weakness with more severe cases progressing to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis, and possibly death.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.