AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Public health officials with the state of Maine are urging Mainers to take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes after more than a dozen pools tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, in the past week.
"We are very concerned about that because I think a lot of people think, 'well, we are getting into the fall, the mosquitoes are going away', but in fact not," stated state epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Sears.
The state announced thirteen pools they tested in the past week were infected with EEE, bringing the total number of pools with EEE present to twenty so far this year.
"We are really concerned about these viruses, predominately in the southern part of the state," he explained, but noted there are many more mosquitoes than the state can test, so people in every corner of the state should take precautions.
"Until we get to the end of September, we are not going to see significant declines in mosquito populations," he said. "The mosquitoes are going to be there, and just as soon as it warms up, they are going to be looking for a meal and that is us."
He suggest people avoid heading outside in the hours around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. He says if people have to be outside at those times, they should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and use bug spray on any uncovered skin to help keep from being bitten.
While there have not been any reports of people becoming infected with EEE, two horses and a pheasant have died after becoming infected this year.