DPH: Protect yourself from mosquitoes, risk level for EEE “critical” in parts of Massachusetts


(WWLP) – Mosquitoes are a common nuisance this time of year. They’re annoying, and some are dangerous.

A human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis or EEE, has been confirmed in a 60-year old man from southern Plymouth County, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

This is the first human case in Massachusetts since 2013.

The DPH has raised the risk level for EEE to “critical” in nine communities in the southeastern part of the state.

Although no one in western Massachusetts has tested positive for the virus, one man told 22News, the mosquitoes are really bad this year even when he wears bug spray.

“Mosquitoes are everywhere this time of year. When I try and go fishing down at the Connecticut River, they bother me.”

Thomas Sfreddo

What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?

EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that’s rare, serious, and potentially deadly.

“EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012.

There were 22 human cases of EEE infection during those two outbreak periods with 14 cases occurring among residents of Bristol and Plymouth Counties.

EEE virus has been found in 227 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people.”

According to a news release sent to 22News from public health officials

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient:

Repellents: Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Other Arthropods

  • DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide),
  • Permethrin
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535

According to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Find the repellent that is right for you

“Most nights, I get eaten alive. I put on a lot of bug spray.”

Leah Shea, Westfield

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

More Mosquito News:

FAQ EEE and Mosquito Control Summer 2019 by 22News on Scribd

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