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When an avian host and the Culiseta melanura mosquito meet in fresh water hardwood swamps, the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) is spread to the bird community. When that same bird is bitten by a mosquito that feeds on humans, such as the Aedes, Coquillettidia, and Culex species, the EEE virus has found its bridge vector. EEE is a rare disease in humans; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2010 that the virus affects an average of 6 people per year (Epidemiology & Geographic Distribution section, para 2). In 2010, blood collected from deer and moose tested positive for the disease. In 2011, several emus in a large flock were affected. Last summer, two people in Rutland County died from complications of EEE, an 87 year-old man and a 49 year-old man. Vermont chose to address the problem with an aerial spraying of pesticides and reported a 50% reduction in the Culiseta melanura mosquito. Many Vermont residents, however, have expressed a concern over the extensive pesticide exposure.

This paper will look at the rates and effects of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus on humans, the health affects of aerial pesticide spraying, and the lack of an acceptable vaccine or antiviral treatment medication.


Winner of the 2nd Place Prize for the 2013 Writing Across the Curriculum contest. Undergraduate paper submitted as a requirement for a course taught by Dr. Jill Mitchell in the Nursing Department of Sacred Heart University

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Creative Commons License
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