August 21, 2013
DEEP Closing Camp Grounds in Pachaug State Forest due to Identification of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Area
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is closing two of its campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest because the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus was detected in human-biting mosquitoes trapped in the area by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). The decision to close the Mt. Misery campground and the nearby Horse Camp also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp, was made in consultation with the CAES and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
The campgrounds are closed until further notice.
“Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but potentially deadly disease that must be taken seriously,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “Although we understand the inconvenience of having to cancel or change camping plans, the presence of EEE in human-biting mosquitoes so near to these campgrounds leaves us no choice but to close them in order to protect human health.”
“The presence of EEE in mosquito pools in this area is cause for concern,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Closing these campgrounds for overnight camping at this time is prudent, and anyone spending time in this area during the day is strongly advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
Dr. Mary Jane Lis, State Veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture reminds horse owners to review vaccination records with their veterinarians to ensure that EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) vaccinations are current and to take precautions against mosquito bites, especially when riding in areas with known infected mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes that have currently tested positive for EEE were trapped in Voluntown on August 13, 2013. Mosquitoes with EEE were previously identified by the CAES at the same site on July 10 and July 17. While those EEE-infected mosquitoes were limited to a bird-feeding species, the mosquitoes trapped on August 13 include both bird-feeding mosquitoes and those that feed on birds and people.
Day use of this part of Pachaug State Forest for hiking and other recreational activities will still be allowed. Signs will be posted by DEEP staff advising visitors of the presence of EEE in the area and precautions that should be taken to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Campers can go to the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/camping
for alternate camping areas.
The state’s mosquito monitoring and management effort is a collaboration involving DEEP, DPH, CAES, and the state Department of Agriculture. For information on EEE and WNV and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at www.ct.gov/mosquito