[HMHS News] Community Information on EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis)
jeaton at hopkintonschools.org
Tue Sep 6 14:45:06 EDT 2005
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As you may have heard, a sparrow that was found dead on HMS property
last week tested positive for EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis).
Below is a letter that Bill Carozza, Principal of Harold Martin
School, sent to the parents and guardians of Harold Martin School
students. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or
Steven M. Chamberlin
Dear Parents and Guardians:
As you may have heard, a sparrow found dead on HMS property last week
tested positive for EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis). I have been in
contact with officials at the New Hampshire Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS) and they have provided us with important
1. EEE is an uncommon but serious disease caused by the EEE virus.
EEE is an arbovirus (short for "arthropod-borne", meaning "spread by
insects"). The virus can be transmitted to horses, other animals,
and, in rare cases, people. The EEE virus grows in birds that live in
freshwater swamps. The virus has a complex life cycle involving birds
and a specific type of mosquito, called Culiseta Melanura. This
particular mosquito does not bite people. Sometimes though, the virus
can escape from its marsh habitat by means of other mosquitoes that
feed on both birds and mammals. These mosquitoes can then transmit
the virus to animals and people.
2. I spoke Friday with Jody Schweitzer, a New Hampshire State
Epidemiologist, and she stated that the threat of the virus is no
greater at HMS than anywhere else in town, or perhaps the surrounding
area. The virus grows with the bird and is then transmitted to
mosquitoes, and there's no telling where the bird came from.
3. Ms. Schweitzer feels the risk is minimal for children while they
are at school since mosquitoes are mainly active at dawn and dusk.
However, she does suggest that children could be sprayed with
repellent containing DEET. If you would like, you may spray your
child before they go to school, which will cover them during any
morning hours when there may be mosquitoes present. It is recommended
that the repellent you buy contain 10% or less DEET. An extra
precaution is to have students wear long pants and perhaps long
sleeves to school. In addition, we will be very careful to keep
students out of wooded areas.
4. Parents need to have a heightened awareness of symptoms, such as
stiff neck, headache, and high fever. Contact your doctor if you have
For more information, feel free to check out: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov
On the homepage there are links to EEE. As always, if you have
questions, contact me via phone or email.
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