CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new case of EEE has been reported in Massachusetts. A horse tested positive for the virus and there are new measures in place to protect humans from getting EEE.
The Department of Public Health announced that a horse in Douglas tested positive for the virus. Now, 29 communities are at critical risk, and another 39 are at high risk for the virus.
EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is rare but can be deadly. The town of Granby is at critical risk for EEE after a horse tested positive, and the towns of Heath and Colrain were raised to critical risk after a Franklin county man became one of four people in the state to test positive for the virus.
Towns like Belchertown, Chicopee, and Brimfield are at high risk for the virus. One out of state dealer at the Brimfield Antique Show said he had even been warned about the risk.
“Somebody told me, and I had to google it and see what was going on,” said Chris Hall of Philadelphia. “Definitely a little creepy. You know it rained yesterday, and it was kind of humid and foggy. I would assume the mosquitos would be out.”
But he didn’t think the virus would keep shoppers away. The likelihood of catching it isn’t high, the EEE virus is extremely rare, but of the nine cases identified in the state from 2010 to 2012, four people died.
One person has already died this year, a woman in the eastern part of the state. Communities including Granby have moved around outdoor activities to avoid peak mosquito hours. South Hadley Police announced an outdoor movie planned for Friday is being moved inside due to EEE concerns.
But, nearing dusk, teams were still spotted outside in South Hadley. One man who mountain bikes in Granby, said now that he knows about the mosquito activity, he’ll be taking more precautions.
“Haven’t heard anything at all really honestly,” said Joseph Perry of Chicopee. “I do use deep woods off honestly. I would if it were that high of a risk, absolutely.”
The DPH said even though it is September, it is still mosquito season, and you should still be wearing bug spray.