Child's death prompts new EEE virus guidelines

Maggie Wilcox

The death of an Oswego County child from Eastern Equine Encephalitis last year has prompted 13 new recommendations to improve the state and local response to the virus.

State Senator Pattie Ritchie has been a champion of this cause since the death of Maggie Wilcox who was bitten by an infected mosquito.

"The death of Maggie Sue Wilcox last summer focused the public's attention on the problem of EEE which, while not unique to Central New York, appears to have hit this region especially hard and with tragic consequences," Senator Ritchie said. "In response, my Roundtable brought together the experts and officials charged with protecting human, as well as animal life, to try to find ways to prevent additional loss of life."

The report calls on the state health department to develop a human vaccine and requests that the state pick up more of the costs of aerial pesticide spraying.

Other recommendations include a horse vaccine and registry to allow better communication from state and health officials in cases of outbreaks and providing larvicides for homeowners as part of a pilot program to treat standing water and reduce mosquito breeding.