Public urged to take EEE threat seriously

Personal protection against mosquito bites should remain a priority

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that laboratory testing has confirmed two new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, a woman in her 60s from eastern Worcester County and a female under the age of 18 from southwestern Middlesex County. This brings the total number of human cases of EEE to seven this year in Massachusetts. As a result, the risk level in Framingham, Marlborough, Northborough, and Sudbury has been raised to critical and the risk level in Berlin, Boylston, Hudson, Maynard, Stow, and Wayland has been raised to high.

In total, there are 36 communities now at critical risk, 42 at high risk, and 115 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in Massachusetts. A map of the state’s current EEE risk levels can be found here.

There have also been nine confirmed cases of EEE this year in animals; eight horses and one goat.

``Even though temperatures have cooled off, it is not unusual to see human EEE cases confirmed in September,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. ``This is why we continue to urge the public to take seriously the threat that mosquitos can pose and to take steps to avoid being bitten.”

All residents throughout the Commonwealth should continue to use mosquito repellent and those in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Residents can learn more about EEE and about ways to protect themselves on DPH’s website.

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