DEEP: DEEP Expanding Closed Areas of Pachaug State Forest due to Presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Area

August 27, 2013
 
DEEP Expanding Closed Areas of Pachaug State Forest due to Presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Area
 
Low-volume ground-level spraying to kill adult mosquitoes  to occur tonight in closed areas
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expanding the areas of Pachaug State Forest closed to the public due to the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in human-biting mosquitoes.  In addition, the state will be conducting ultra low-volume (ULV) ground spraying in the area to reduce the number of mosquitoes.  The decision to close further portions of the forest and to apply adulticides was made in consultation with the CAES and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
 
The portion of the park to be closed and treated with adulticides is commonly known as the Mt. Misery or Chapman area and will encompass the following:
  • The forest interior roads and campground areas (all on state property) bound by east of Rt. 201, north of Rt. 138, west of Rt. 49 and south of Hell Hollow Rd.
On August 21, DEEP closed two of its campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest because the EEE virus was detected in human-biting mosquitoes.  The campgrounds and this portion of the state forest will remain closed until further notice.
 
“Based on the continued presence of EEE in this portion of Pachaug State Forest, and in consultation with the mosquito management team, it was decided to close a larger area of the forest and to spray in an attempt to minimize the number of mosquitoes in the vicinity,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.  “CAES will trap and test mosquitoes both before and after tonight’s spraying so that we have sound information to assist us in deciding on our next course of action.”
 
“EEE can be a very serious disease, so it’s extremely important that the public heed the closure of the affected area of the Pachaug State Forest to reduce the risk of being bitten by infected mosquitoes,” said DPH Commissioner, Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Even after the spraying for mosquitoes, people should continue to do what they can to prevent mosquito bites, especially in the communities surrounding the forest.”
 
DPH is also recommending that communities around the forest curtail any outdoor activities scheduled after 7 p.m.  Such activities should be rescheduled for earlier in the day when mosquitoes are less active or relocated to indoor locations to help prevent mosquito bites.
 
“We continue to trap mosquitoes infected with the EEE virus and in the absence of any intervention, the virus is likely to build-up to higher levels in the coming weeks increasing the threat for human exposure,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist at CAES and director of the mosquito trapping program.  “We have no indication that the EEE virus has expanded beyond the Pachaug State Forest at this time, as all other trapping sites throughout the state have tested negative for the EEE virus.”
 
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 21 and 22, 2013.  Mosquitoes with EEE were previously identified by the CAES at the same site on July 10, July 17, and August 13.  While those EEE-infected mosquitoes trapped on July 10 and July 17 were limited to a bird-feeding species, the mosquitoes trapped on August 13, 21, and 22 include both bird-feeding mosquitoes and those that feed on birds and people.
 
Signs have been posted in this portion of the forest by DEEP staff advising visitors of the closure due to the presence of EEE.  Visitors can go to the DEEP website at http://www.ct.gov/deep for alternate camping areas and outdoor recreation 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.