New Haven (WSYR-TV) - The family of a little girl from the Oswego County town of New Haven, who died of EEE over the weekend, reached out to the community on Tuesday morning in an effort to express the importance of protecting children from insect bites.
This family doesn't know when 5-year-old Maggie Wilcox was bitten by the mosquito infected with the EEE virus, but they'll never forget when her seizures started last Saturday morning at a town-wide yard sale.
"In one week, this disease attacked and destroyed the brain function of a beautiful, healthy 5-year-old little girl," said her uncle, Michael Wilcox.
Tuesday would have been Wilcox's fifth birthday. In the morning, her family stood together. Different family members spoke at the gathering at the New Haven Firehouse. They urged parents to protect their children with insect repellent and called upon New York State and Oswego County to take action to prevent another tragedy.
"The officials have decided not to spray mosquitoes to control triple E. Ladies and gentleman, we're here to tell you that it's unacceptable and, frankly, a sickening response," Michael Wilcox continued.
Oswego County Health Department officials say they want to be sure spraying will be the most effective tool to deal with the EEE problems. They also ask all residents to drain standing water, apply insect repellent, and wear long sleeves, pants, and socks in areas with a high concentration of mosquitoes.
Friends of the family are holding a benefit at the New Haven Fire Department this Saturday. The Wilcox family hopes it will just be the beginning of raising awareness about EEE.
Those who wish to make a donation in Maggie Wilcox's memory, may send checks in her name to John and Sherry Glenister, c/o New Haven Post Office, New Haven, NY. The money will go toward improving the New Haven Elementary School Library and also the playground.