080219 WES Spraying mosquitoes Wilcox Park 354.JPG

Certified mosquito control specialists with Mosquito Authority, a Hickory, N.C., company with local franchises, sprayed the trees and grounds of Wilcox Park with an environmentally safe insecticide early this month. Park superintendent Alan Peck said that the park is treated three times during the summer season: in June before Summer Pops, in August for Shakespeare in the Park, and again in September. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

Mosquitoes trapped in Stonington, North Stonington and Voluntown have tested positive for Eastern Equine Enchephalitis, according to the Uncas and Ledge Light health districts.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus transmitted by some mosquitoes. There have been many cases of the disease being transmitted to humans through mosquito bites in Connecticut, but only one person has ever died.

The health districts recommended that residents of the three communities avoid outdoor activities from one hour before dusk and dawn to one hour after dusk and dawn, the time when mosquitoes are heaviest.

Additional precautions to avoid mosquito bites include:

• Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.

• While outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.

• Use mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors.

• Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective for brief periods of exposure.

• When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than 2 months.

Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:

• Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire Swings, clogged gutters.

• Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.

• Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and cover pools when not in use.

• Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.

Additional resources for information on EEE and mosquito management can be found at http://www.ct.gov/mosquito/site/default.asp.

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