CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Department of Public Health confirmed the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in eastern Massachusetts on Saturday.
The EEE virus was found in a man older than 60 from southern Plymouth County. This is the first human case in Massachusetts since 2013.
EEE symptoms can range from a stiff neck and headache to more serious complications including swelling of the brain.
Using a proper insect repellent will ensure you avoid being infected. There are also treatments available that can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
22News spoke with Dr. Ira Helfand from Family Care Medical Center about the virus.
“The treatment is mainly supportive treatment. There aren’t anti-viral agents for these types of illnesses and it’s primarily supportive treatment so the symptoms don’t cause more damage to the patient,” Dr. Helfand said.
Dr. Helfand told 22News there are several steps you can take to avoid being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Those include using an insect repellent that contains DEET, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and limiting activity in mosquito-dense areas at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Mosquitoes can also infect your pets and farm animals.
The EEE virus was first recognized in Massachusetts in 1831 when the virus killed 75 horses.
The DPH said the risk for EEE will remain until we see below freezing temperatures.