Mosquito Monitoring Programs Under Review in Vermont

Sep 20, 2012

Vermont officials are reviewing the state mosquito monitoring program following two deaths from a rare disease carried by the insects.

Richard Hollis Breen of Brandon died on Sept. 4 and Scott Sgorbati of Sudbury died Sept. 18 from eastern equine encephalitis.  The disease is rare, and is contracted from a virus carried by mosquitoes. Vermont's health commissioner Dr. Harry Chen told the Rutland Herald that they are assessing monitoring programs, but federal funding for such programs has been cut by 75 percent. Vermont Health Department Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Erica Berl says the funds from the Centers for Disease Control began about a decade ago in response to West Nile Virus outbreaks.

Erica Berl notes that the federal money has been for mosquito surveillance, while the state has funded control programs.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group Environmental Health Advocate Lauren Hierl believes that with predictions climate change will cause more insect problems, a state assessment of the mosquito monitoring program is warranted.

Vermont does not have a lab to test for the Triple-E virus from mosquitoes.  Testing for eastern equine encephalitis was done for Vermont at the New York State Health Department laboratory.