Maine Man Recovering From Rare Mosquito-Borne Illness - NECN


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Maine Man Recovering From Rare Mosquito-Borne Illness



    Rare Mosquito-Borne Illness in Maine

    The CDC in Maine is sounding the alarm about Jamestown Canyon virus, a rare illness carried by mosquitoes. An elderly man in Kennebec County was hospitalized with the illness.

    (Published Friday, July 14, 2017)

    The Maine Center for Disease Control is warning about a new mosquito-borne disease detected in the state: Jamestown Canyon virus.

    It's a rare virus that is characterized by flu-like symptoms. According to state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett, there have only been a few cases of Jamestown Canyon virus in the nation, and this is the first known case in the state.

    The CDC reports that an elderly man in Kennebec County experienced symptoms in June and had to be hospitalized. He is expected to recover.

    "High fever, stiff neck, mental confusion: please go see your doctor," Dr. Bennett said.

    Some mosquito-borne illnesses can be serious, even fatal.

    Dr. Bennett says the CDC is closely monitoring mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

    "We think it may be a bad year for mosquitoes," she said.

    Researchers agree. Dr. Chuck Lubelczyk, vector ecologist at Maine Medical Center, said the mosquito population in Maine appears to be slightly above average this year.

    He says the spring weather is likely to blame. A rainy season left behind pools of standing water, where mosquitoes can breed and thrive.

    "This is the busiest year for us on record, definitely because of the influx of mosquitoes," said Erik Hanson, owner of the Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine.

    His crews spray for mosquitoes and ticks, and he says it has been difficult to keep up with demand.

    "Customers are concerned about the new pathogens," said the Mosquito Squad's operation manager, Scott Conrad.

    The Maine CDC says the best way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites, remembering to wear insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk when the insects are active.

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