Friday, October 15, 2004
One case of EEE found in Carlisle
The Massachusetts State Laboratory confirmed a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a domestic animal in Carlisle on October 8. EEE is a mosquito-borne illness, which has been on the rise recently in Eastern Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) the risk of transmission of EEE virus is greatest in August and September and continues until the mosquito activity ends after the first hard frost. There is an EEE vaccine for horses, but not for people. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites.
The Board of Health recommends the following precautions:
• Remove any standing water near your home to reduce mosquito-breeding habitats.
• Check rain gutters and drains.
• Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools.
• Change birdbath water frequently.
• Wear clothing that provides more coverage of your skin such as long sleeved shirts and pants if you remain outdoors while mosquitoes are biting. Take special care to cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors.
• Use mosquito repellents containing DEET and follow the directions on the label. Never use DEET on infants. Avoid using repellents with DEET concentrations above 10-15% for children and 30-35% for adults. Wash your skin when you return indoors.
• When you take a baby outdoors, cover the carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
• Check window and door screens to assure they are in good repair.
Information from the MDPH Public Health Fact Sheet on EEE available on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph).
Risks of contact with feral cats
The Board of Health would also like residents to be aware of the difficulties of trying to rehabilitate feral cats as household pets and the potential for exposure to wildlife rabies. Feral cats are the offspring of strays or abandoned pets, which have had no human contact. Although they may appear domesticated, they are actually wild animals. According to The Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, caring for and reducing a feral cat colony is difficult. Trapping and euthanizing is unacceptable to many animal lovers and may not present a long-term solution since a new colony may be established. The TNR (trap, neuter and return) approach requires a long-term commitment to provide winterization shelter, follow-up vaccinations, and care for sick or hurt cats throughout their lives. Adoption and rehabilitation of adult cats is rarely successful. Very young cats may eventually be domesticated but the success rate is very low. Most feral cats are afraid of humans and may hide from or bite even the most caring owner. Feral cat colonies pose a risk for rabies exposure to household pets that roam free. Pets are the most likely bridge between wildlife rabies and people. Intervention with a feral cat population should only be undertaken with extreme caution and is not recommended without proper training and resources.
© 2004 The