Health professionals calling EEE activity ‘unprecedented’

Health

WEST SPRINGIFELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Health professionals are calling EEE activity “unprecedented.”

Mosquito season hasn’t ended in Massachusetts, and so far, 12 human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been identified in the state.

“This is unlike anything we’ve seen in our previous outbreaks.”

Gene Galloway, head of the West Springfield DPH and the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District, said this EEE activity is unprecedented. Prompting schools to move outdoor activities up to avoid peak mosquito hours.

“Not in my tenure. I’ve been here almost 14 years, and we haven’t had to do it in my tenure, so this is pretty serious stuff,” Galloway told 22News.

Those over 60 and under 12 are at the greatest risk, so for many, kids safety is a major concern.

“Schools are concerned for the kids going out at recess and stuff like that. It is a concern for kids,” said Ann Letendre of Chicopee. “Everything is so different now. Everything has changed you don’t know where everything is coming from.”

Unfortunately, western Massachusetts could be contending with EEE again next mosquito season.

According to the DPH, when outbreaks occur, they typically last 2 to 3 years, and Massachusetts last outbreak was in 2012.

Currently, the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District doesn’t conduct spraying, but the spike in triple E cases this year has more towns considering joining the group.

“It’s possible if we get enough towns to join up, that we could start offering that service,” Galloway explained. “We have seen some interest in joining the Pioneer Valley District, which is good. It isn’t an end all, people still need to take personal precautions.”

This weekend will be the first real shot at the deep freezes in western Massachusetts that help end mosquito season.

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