Mosquitoes found infected with disease

August 03, 1994

The virus that causes Eastern equine encephalitis, a disease that can be fatal, has been isolated in mosquitoes in western Anne Arundel County near the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Cyrus Lesser, chief of the Maryland Department of Agriculture's mosquito control program, said there is no health threat because the species of mosquito infected does not bite people, but instead feeds on birds.

No additional mosquito control measures have been taken in the area.

Although the virus did not turn up in mosquitoes that bite humans, it commonly spreads to them later in the summer, he said. The department collects and tests mosquitoes weekly from 200 locations around the state.

Four other pools so far this summer have had mosquitoes infected with the virus. The sites were all on the Eastern Shore. At two of the sites, the infected mosquitoes can feed on people and other mammals, Mr. Lesser said.

Last summer, bird-feeding mosquitoes infected with the virus also turned up in the Patuxent River flood plain, Mr. Lesser said. ++ Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and the area has hundreds of acres of wetlands.

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