YORK COUNTY, Maine — Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a virus transmitted to humans and live stock through infected mosquitoes. The virus can cause neurological damage and even death. The Maine CDC says a horse in York County tested positive for the virus last month. It later had to be euthanized.
"Triple-E is our most serious mosquito borne disease in North America. It has a very high fatality rate," said Chuck Lubelczyk, vector ecologist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.
Lubelczyk said the virus comes from birds. The Northeast is seeing a high number of mosquitoes and ones with EEE this year because of the wet spring. Neighboring states like Massachusetts and New Hampshire have seen a number of human cases.
"They're able to take it out of the bird population and bring it into the mammal population including us," Lubelczyk said.
He says people start to have flu-like symptoms and then neurological symptoms follow. What can you do to protect yourself? Lubelczyk says to wear long sleeves and pants when outside at dusk and dawn, and to wear bug spray with deet. The Maine CDC says people aren't completely safe until after the second hard frost.