Eastern equine encephalitis found in mosquito trapped in Castle Hayne

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 2:22 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEEV) was found in a pool of mosquitos recently trapped in North Castle Hayne, according to New Hanover County health officials.

Earlier this week, a lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mistakenly reported to state and county health officials that a pool of mosquitos at Fort Fisher tested positive for the virus.

The species of mosquito that tested positive in Castle Hayne, Culiseta melanura, typically bites only birds, and rarely humans. Additionally, the Castle Hayne mosquito trap is located along a stream deep in the woods with little human population.

“Horse farms in the North Castle Hayne area are encouraged to be proactive and ensure their horses have received the EEE vaccine,” county officials stated in a news release.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommends horses be vaccinated annually, at a minimum and additional information about EEE in horses can be found here.

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Transmission of the EEE virus is caused by bites from an infected mosquito. While EEE can be transmitted to humans, such cases occur relatively infrequently, largely because the primary transmission cycle takes place in and around cedar or hardwood swamp areas where human populations tend to be limited.

Residents can better protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, avoiding outside activities at dusk/dawn when mosquitoes are most active, emptying any standing water sources where mosquitos can breed, and applying mosquito repellent.

If using a repellent with DEET, make sure to follow label instructions, and keep DEET out of the eyes, mouth and nose.

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