A sample of mosquitoes from Washington Township, New Jersey, tested positive for West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), according to local officials. It’s the first sample to ever test positive for EEE in Warren County.
Basically, these mosquitoes could potentially kill you.
EEE is a virus that causes brain inflammation and, though rare, can be fatal.
Just earlier this month, a Massachusetts woman died after being infected with EEE. West Nile Virus also causes brain inflammation and is typically more prevalent than EEE, though EEE has a higher mortality rate.
Public officials in New Jersey were already bracing for an increased amount of West Nile Virus this year, with the first case of the infection being reported on July 2 — the earliest ever reported in the state. Last year, a record 61 people in New Jersey were reportedly infected with West Nile.
But EEE has also been making its presence known. The Washington Township Police Department said in a Facebook post that this has been a very active year for EEE in New Jersey, with one recorded human case this year.
Approximately a third of people infected with EEE die, and there’s currently no specific treatment for the virus, according to the CDC. There’s no specific treatment for West Nile Virus, either.
Meanwhile, local police are encouraging residents to wear repellent. The Warren County Mosquito Control Commission is also planning on spraying adult mosquitoes in the area where they collected the sample.
But, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the best way to prevent infections from EEE and West Nile is to not get bitten in the first place, says the CDC.