Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reopening the areas of Pachaug State Forest that were closed on August 27 due to the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in human-biting mosquitoes. The Mt. Misery campground and the nearby Horse Camp also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp will remain closed until further notice. The decision to reopen these areas of the forest was made based on reductions in both the numbers of mosquitoes trapped and the virus activity in those mosquitoes as determined by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), and in consultation with CAES and the Department of Public Health (DPH).
On August 21, DEEP closed two of its campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest because the EEE virus was detected in human-biting mosquitoes. On August 27 a larger area of the forest, commonly known as the Mt. Misery or Chapman area was closed and the state conducted ultra low-volume (ULV) ground spraying in the area to reduce the number of mosquitoes.
“Our most recent trap collections have shown a significant decline in mosquito populations in the affected area as a result of the ground spraying and current weather conditions,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist at CAES. “Although we continue to detect low levels of EEE virus activity in some mosquitoes, we do not anticipate any further build-up in the coming weeks.”
“This is the time of year when people are most likely to become infected with West Nile virus and EEE,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Even though there may be fewer mosquitoes in this area for now, it’s still very important to take measures to prevent mosquito bites.”
“After consulting with both the Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, we feel confident opening this area of the forest back up to recreational use and previously scheduled commercial timber operations,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan K. Whalen. “As a precaution, we have decided to keep the campgrounds closed for the time being. Connecticut has many other campgrounds available for those planning a camping trip in the days ahead and we encourage folks to continue to enjoy the outdoors this season – while taking proper precautions to minimize mosquito bites.”
Signs remain posted in this portion of the forest and visitors are cautioned to continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions that people should take include:
Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
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 more information on what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website at www.ct.gov/mosquito.
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