The first official case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been detected on Ann Breen’s farm in Brandon. Sixteen Australian emu birds died from the deadly disease. While the Brandon outbreak is the second case of the disease reported in Vermont, it is the first to be officially documented.
Vermont veterinarian Dr. Keely Henderson said the University of New Hampshire conducted the tissue tests to confirm the EEE infection.
Vermont Health Department officials are now urging residents of Rutland and Addison counties to avoid mosquito bites and use DEET spray.
The EEE virus first infects birds, then mosquitoes spread the disease. Humans are not immune. In addition to some birds, EEE can also infect alpacas, donkeys, and llamas.
Dr. Henderson said coming hard frosts will help kill local mosquito populations for this season. However, the EEE threat will be of concern in spring 2012 when mosquitoes begin to hatch again.