DPH Announces First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Of The Year In Sussex County Man

DOVER, DE (Aug. 31, 2022) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing this year’s first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV), in a 78-year-old Sussex County man. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause serious health problems.   

In addition to the first human WNV case, there also have been confirmed cases in a horse in New Castle County, and in 19 sentinel chickens in outdoor-caged and humanely tended stations maintained throughout the state by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).  Delawareans should be aware that mosquitoes that cause WNV bite primarily during the evening and morning hours; or dusk and dawn. However, mosquitoes that cause other diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika can bite during the day. It is important to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent whenever you go outdoors. 

WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally in summer and fall, with a peak period for disease transmission from mid-August to mid-October. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not become ill. Less than 20 percent of those infected with the virus will develop mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back, and swollen lymph glands. Approximately one in 150 people infected will develop severe infection which may include headache, high fever, stiff neck, tremors or convulsions, muscle weakness, encephalitis or meningitis, all possibly leading to hospitalization and very rarely death. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk to contract WNV from mosquitoes. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should immediately seek medical assistance.  

To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should: 

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reapplication times. 
  • If using sunscreen, apply it first and insect repellent second. 
  • Adults taking precaution with children against biting mosquitoes should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply it to the child’s face. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or on cuts or irritated skin. 
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than two months of age. 
  • When outside during periods of mosquito activity, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants. 
  • Dress children in clothing that covers arms and legs. 
  • Consider using mosquito netting, which offers protection to the face and neck and also protects infants in carriages, strollers and playpens.
  • Use permethrin (an insecticide) to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents), but do not apply to the skin. 
  • Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and tightly sealed windows and doorways.  

DNREC’s Mosquito Control section announced WNV in sentinel chickens for the first time in July 2021. Mosquito-transmitted virus detections in DNREC’s sentinel chickens are unrelated to Delaware’s poultry industry. The possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in mid-October or later.  

  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156. 
  • For more information about mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, use the following resources: 
    • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917. 
    • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555. 
    • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512. 
  • Contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section for animal health questions at 302-698-4500. 
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 1-888-295-5156. 

For more information on West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, visit https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/epi/wnv.html.

For more information on what you can do to prevent West Nile Virus, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s website, www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html.

 

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation. DPH is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. 

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind, or speech-disabled can contact DPH by first dialing 711 using specialized devices (i.e., TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free; to learn more about how it works, visit delawarerelay.com.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.  

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov


First 2022 Delaware Evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Detected in DNREC’s Sentinel Chickens

Public Urged to Take Precautionary Measures Until Colder Weather Arrives in The Fall

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-transmitted disease, has been detected in Delaware the first time for 2022 in a sentinel chicken, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Mosquito-transmitted virus detections in DNREC’s sentinel chickens are unrelated to Delaware’s poultry industry.

The EEE finding in northern New Castle County was from a sentinel chicken station sampled by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section and confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory Aug. 9. While there have been no reported EEE cases in humans this year in the state, Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in late-October or later.

The first EEE-positive sentinel chicken for this year adds to five WNV-positive sentinel chickens found earlier at three other sentinel chicken arbovirus monitoring stations in New Castle and Kent counties – with the first WNV finding occurring in early July. No EEE or WNV human cases have been reported to date in 2022 by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory, nor have any EEE or WNV equine cases been reported by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Blood samples are collected by the Mosquito Control section each week from early July into October from the state’s outdoor-caged sentinel chickens that are humanely housed and handled at 20 monitoring stations statewide. The blood samples are tested for EEE and WNV antibodies by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Sentinel chickens bitten by mosquitoes carrying EEE or WNV develop antibodies to these diseases but are otherwise unaffected. Mosquitoes can transmit both WNV and EEE to humans and horses.

The public is reminded to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyltoluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and at times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where EEE or WNV is detected may be initiated by DNREC’s Mosquito Control section as warranted, based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present in affected areas. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders and unused swimming pools.

While EEE is rarer than WNV, both EEE and WNV can adversely affect people and horses. Most people who become infected with EEE virus and WNV show either no or mild symptoms. Early symptoms in people contracting EEE or WNV can be similar, but EEE often becomes more pronounced and debilitating, manifested by meningitis or encephalitis typically resulting in hospitalizations. EEE has a higher human mortality rate of approximately 30%, with infants, children and the elderly most vulnerable, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms in people infected with EEE usually start from four to 10 days after being bitten by a mosquito infected with EEE. Early EEE 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. Most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms, but about 20% can develop a mild illness, including fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash symptoms. A small number of people infected with WNV can develop serious illness involving neurological problems, paralysis and possibly death. There are no human vaccines for EEE or WNV. Anyone developing the symptoms described above should see their healthcare provider.

Horse owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if they suspect their horse may be showing signs of WNV or EEE. Symptoms of EEE in horses include fever (102.5-104.5°F), loss of appetite, head pressing, depression or personality change, wobbling or staggering, weakness, blindness, convulsions, muscle tremors in the head and neck or hind-limb weakness. These signs are also consistent with WNV, although a fever may or may not be present with WNV.

Additional information about mosquitoes and mosquito-transmitted diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human EEE or WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis or West Nile Virus, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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First 2022 Delaware Evidence of West Nile Virus Detected in DNREC’s Sentinel Chickens

No Human Cases of WNV Reported to Date in State; Department of Agriculture Urges Equine Owners to Vaccinate Animals

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in Delaware the first time for 2022 in a sentinel chicken, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. This initial finding was from a sentinel chicken station in southern New Castle County sampled by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section and confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory on July 19. While there have been no reported WNV cases in humans this year in the state, Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in mid-October or later.

Blood samples are collected by the Mosquito Control section each week from early July into October from the state’s outdoor-caged sentinel chickens that are humanely housed and handled at 20 monitoring stations statewide. The blood samples are tested for WNV and EEE antibodies by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Sentinel chickens bitten by mosquitoes carrying WNV or EEE develop antibodies to these diseases but are otherwise unaffected. Mosquitoes can transmit both WNV and EEE to humans and horses.

Most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms, but about 20% can develop a mild illness, including fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash symptoms. A small number of people can develop serious illness involving neurological problems, paralysis, and possibly death. EEE is not as prevalent as WNV but can present more severe symptoms in humans and horses.

The public is reminded to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyltoluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions, and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and at times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), there were no equine cases of WNV or EEE in 2021. With the detection of WNV in a sentinel chicken this early in the season, the state veterinarian urges horse owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to vaccinate horses and other equines against WNV and EEE. Both vaccines are highly effective in minimizing disease and may be the reason why Delaware had no equine cases in 2021. Horses that have been vaccinated in the past will need an annual booster shot. Neither disease has a specific drug treatment, and infections in horses are fatal in 70 to 90% of EEE cases and 30% of WNV cases.

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where WNV or EEE is detected may be initiated by the DNREC Mosquito Control section as warranted, based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present in affected areas. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders, and unused swimming pools.

Horse owners can take several additional steps in the barn and around the farm to help protect horses from mosquito bites. Horses should be kept inside at dawn and dusk, peak hours for mosquito activity. Topical insect repellents labeled for use on horses may be applied. Wind generated by fans installed in horse stalls can also help deter mosquitoes. Water troughs or buckets should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled every 2-3 days to remove mosquito eggs or larvae.

More information about mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health section at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:
DNREC: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov
DDA: Stacey Hofmann, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov

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DPH Announces Third Human Case of West Nile Virus for 2021

DOVER (Nov. 2, 2021) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that an 87-year-old Kent County woman has become infected with West Nile Virus (WNV), making it the state’s third case of human WNV in 2021. The woman indicated no travel history that could have led to transmission, meaning she contracted WNV in Delaware. To protect the patient’s privacy, DPH will not provide additional information on this case.

WNV is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause serious health problems. WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally in summer and fall, with a peak period for disease transmissions from mid-August to mid-October. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not become ill. While only a little less than 20 percent of those infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever with mild symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands), one in 150 people infected will develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis).

Symptoms of severe WNV infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

The mosquitoes that cause WNV bite primarily from dusk (evening) to dawn (morning). However, other mosquitoes that cause diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika can bite during the day. It is important to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent whenever you go outdoors. It’s also recommended to wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your limbs from insect bites.

In addition to the three human WNV cases, there has been one confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Kent County horse.  West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are diseases transmitted to horses via the bites of mosquitoes. Humans can also be infected with WNV and EEE, but transmission requires a mosquito bite, and the virus cannot be directly transmitted between horses, or between horses and people. Signs of infection in horses include fever (although not always with WNV), anorexia, head pressing, depression or personality change, wobbling or staggering, weakness, blindness, convulsions, muscle spasms in the head and neck, or hind-limb weakness. If owners notice any of these signs in their horses, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Horse owners can take several additional steps in the barn and around the farm to help protect horses from mosquito bites. Horses should be kept inside during dawn and dusk, which are peak hours for mosquito activity. Topical insect repellents labeled for use on horses may be applied. The wind generated by fans installed in horse stalls can also help deter mosquitoes. Old tires and containers should be disposed of, and standing water eliminated. Water troughs or buckets should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled every 2-3 days if possible to remove any mosquito eggs or larvae.

Mosquito Bite Prevention: To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reapplication times.
  • If using sunscreen, apply it first and insect repellent second.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply it to the child’s face. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or on cut or irritated skin.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • When outside, wear shoes, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Mosquito netting can protect one’s face and neck, and infants in carriages, strollers and playpens.
  • Use permethrin (an insecticide) to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents), but do not apply to skin.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and keeping windows and doorways tightly sealed.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Mosquito Control section announced WNV had been found in sentinel chickens for the first time this year in July. Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and EEE, will continue until colder weather sets in, which this year could be as late as mid-November. Until that time, in response to findings of WNV or EEE in humans or horses by the Division of Public Health and Delaware Department of Agriculture, respectively, DNREC’s Mosquito Control section typically increases its mosquito population surveillance efforts in the vicinity of the virus findings, and then, depending on types and numbers of mosquitoes encountered, takes appropriate mosquito control measures as warranted. To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.

For more information about mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, use the following resources:

For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.

For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.

For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.

For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4561.

To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 1-888-295-5156.

For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

For more information on what you can do to prevent West Nile Virus, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s website, www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html.

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Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices).  The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Announces Second Human Case of West Nile Virus and First Case Detected in a Horse for 2021

DOVER (Oct. 8, 2021) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that a 79-year-old Sussex County woman has become infected with West Nile Virus (WNV), the state’s second case of human WNV in 2021. An epidemiological investigation is currently ongoing to confirm any travel history or sources that could have led to transmission. To protect the patient’s privacy, no more information will be provided on the individual at this time.

“As mosquito season continues through the fall months, it is important for everyone to take proper precautions when going outdoors in an environment where mosquitoes are prevalent,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Wearing insect repellent and wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants are easy measures to take that can protect against this serious and sometimes deadly virus.”

The mosquitoes that cause WNV bite primarily from dusk (evening) to dawn (morning). However, other mosquitoes that cause diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika can bite during the day. It is important to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent whenever you go outdoors.

WNV is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause serious health problems. WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally in summer and fall, with a peak period for disease transmissions from mid-August to mid-October. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not become ill. While only a little less than 20 percent of those infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever with mild symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands), one in 150 people infected will develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis).

Symptoms of severe WNV infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

In addition, the Office of the State Veterinarian has announced a confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse. The infected horse was a 3-year-old Standardbred gelding residing in Kent County. The horse began showing signs of weakness in the hind limbs, with fever and respiratory signs on Oct. 1. The gelding lost the ability to stand and was therefore euthanized on Oct. 5. Samples were submitted to the Delaware Public Health Laboratory on Oct. 6, which confirmed the diagnosis of WNV on Oct. 7. The affected horse was not currently vaccinated against WNV.

West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are diseases transmitted to horses via the bites of mosquitoes. Humans can also be infected with WNV and EEE, but transmission requires a mosquito bite, and the virus cannot be directly transmitted between horses, or between horses and people. Signs of infection in horses include fever (although not always with WNV), anorexia, head pressing, depression or personality change, wobbling or staggering, weakness, blindness, convulsions, muscle spasms in the head and neck, or hind-limb weakness. If owners notice any of these signs in their horses, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.

“It is essential that owners of horses and other equines work with their veterinarian to set up a routine vaccination protocol to help prevent West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said Dr. Karen Lopez, Deputy State Veterinarian. “Unfortunately, neither disease has a specific drug treatment. Eastern Equine Encephalitis infections are fatal in 70 to 90 percent of the cases, and West Nile Virus is fatal in 30 percent of the horses that contract it.”

Horse owners can take several additional steps in the barn and around the farm to help protect horses from mosquito bites. Horses should be kept inside during dawn and dusk, which are peak hours for mosquito activity. Topical insect repellents labeled for use on horses may be applied. The wind generated by fans installed in horse stalls can also help deter mosquitoes. Old tires and containers should be disposed of, and standing water eliminated. Water troughs or buckets should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled every 2-3 days if possible to remove any mosquito eggs or larvae.

Mosquito Bite Prevention: To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reapplication times.
  • If using sunscreen, apply it first and insect repellent second.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply it to the child’s face. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or on cut or irritated skin.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • When outside, wear shoes, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Mosquito netting can protect one’s face and neck, and infants in carriages, strollers and playpens.
  • Use permethrin (an insecticide) to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents), but do not apply to skin.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and keeping windows and doorways tightly sealed.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Mosquito Control section announced WNV in sentinel chickens for the first time this year in July. Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and EEE, will continue until colder autumn temperatures in mid-October or later. Until that time, in response to findings of WNV or EEE in humans or horses by the Division of Public Health and Delaware Department of Agriculture, respectively, DNREC’s Mosquito Control Section typically increases its mosquito population surveillance efforts in the vicinity of the virus findings, and then, depending on types and numbers of mosquitoes encountered, takes appropriate mosquito control measures as warranted. To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.

For more information about mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, use the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4561.
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 1-888-295-5156.
  • For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

For more information on what you can do to prevent West Nile Virus, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s website, www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html.