EEE notice from Director of Health Services

The following notice was distributed to faculty, staff and students of UMass Dartmouth on August 2 at 4 p.m.

August 2, 2010 

TO:   UMass Dartmouth Community 

FROM: Sheila Dorgan, MSN,FNP 
Director of Health Services 

RE: Initial campus Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) notice 

Mosquitoes infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) have been found in nearby communities. At this time, no EEE-carrying mosquitoes have been found in the town of Dartmouth but the town has been rated as a "moderate risk" for EEE, according to state health officials.   

The purpose of this announcement is to increase your awareness of EEE, apprise you of steps the University is taking to protect the campus community, and to suggest some simple actions that individuals can take to protect themselves from bites. 

WHAT IS EEE? 

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare but serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes.  Typical symptoms include high fever (often 103° to 106° F)  stiff neck, headache and lack of energy. These symptoms show up three to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito.   

Inflammation and swelling of the brain (encephalitis) is the most serious complication.  The disease worsens quickly and some patients may go into a coma within a week. 

There is no treatment for EEE In Massachusetts, and 30 to 50 percent of people diagnosed with EEE die from the infection, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  People who survive the disease will often be permanently disabled. 

This year, infected mosquitoes have been found in the area earlier and in greater number than usual, which means people are more at risk for contracting EEE and should take precautions to avoid being bitten. 

UNIVERSITY ACTIONS 

The Facilities Department has been proactive in controlling the mosquito population on our campus. Since Fall 2007 when EEE became an issue in the area, the Facilities Department has regularly cleaned and cleared our drainage ditches  to minimize the amount of standing water on campus.  Additionally, the department has had the campus sprayed twice a year by Bristol County Mosquito Control (prior to the Freedom Festival and then just before school starts).  The next spraying is planned for August 18. 
Bristol County Mosquito Control also treats campus retention ponds and wet areas to prevent the hatching of new mosquitoes.  This was already done in June. 

On July 31, Governor Patrick announced that plans are underway to conduct aerial spraying of southeastern Massachusetts. 

INDIVIDUAL PREVENTION MEASURES 

No mosquito control program, no matter how aggressive, can totally eliminate the risk, however. We recommend that individuals take precautions to protect themselves.    

As the mosquitoes carrying the virus are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn, individuals are urged to stay indoors during that time if possible.  If outside at night, individuals should wear long sleeves, long pants and socks.   

The CDC recommends that adults use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Permethrin, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is important to follow the instructions for use.  For example, Permethrin should be placed on clothing, not on the skin.    

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES 

Neither the Massachusetts Board of Health or the Town of Dartmouth Board of Health is  recommending the cancellation of outdoor evening programs that we have scheduled.. This might change in the future if the risk level increases.  We are monitoring the risk levels and will react accordingly. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AVAILABLE 

For updated information regarding EEE, please visit: 

UMass Dartmouth -- 
http://www1.umassd.edu 

Town of Dartmouth -- 
http://www.town.dartmouth.ma.us/pages/dartmouthma_bcomm/health/EEE 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention --   
http://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/# 

Massachusetts Department of Public Health -- 
http://www.mass.gov/dph 

Or contact: 
UMD Student Health Services at X8982  (weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 
UMD Public Safety Department X8107 (nights and weekends) 


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