Community circulates EEE petition for surveillance laboratory
By Cristina Kumka
One Vermont community is rallying around a petition that calls for the creation of an arbovirus surveillance laboratory for Vermont to detect bugs carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis and other deadly human viruses.
Colleen Wright of Sudbury, a friend of Scott Sgorbati, the state's first victim of EEE this year, is posting the petition in three local stores Tuesday in an effort to get signatures from Vermonters who want to see more prevention of EEE, West Nile and other virus-carrying bugs.
"Basically, it calls for the creation of an arbovirus surveillance lab in the state of Vermont, staffed in order to reduce detection time from 2 months to 24-72 hours," Wright wrote in an email.
"This is not limited to discovery of the EEE or West Nile Virus mosquito, but also the viruses transmitted by arthropod vectors. It also calls for a return to fully funding the mosquito lab, which was cut by 75 percent last year."
According to health officials, such a lab can be created in Vermont at the University of Vermont or other state Health Department facility because all the equipment available.
Vermont would have to get permitting to test for eee, according to Alan Graham, state entomologist.