BOSTON (WWLP) – The Department of Public Health on Monday announced that a second mosquito has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Massachusetts this year.
According to public health officials, EEE was confirmed by the state lab in a mosquito sample collected on July 5 in the Franklin County town of Wendell. This increases the risk level of EEE to moderate in the communities of Wendell and New Salem.
Health officials define EEE as a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. It is generally spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths. There were also nine cases in domestic animals.
“We are seeing EEE activity in mosquitoes very early in the season,’’ Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, stated. “We will continue to conduct additional surveillance, including trapping and testing mosquitoes in the region over the next several weeks to better inform our guidance to local communities.”
The state’s first detection of EEE in mosquitoes was found in Franklin County on Friday, causing health officials to increase the EEE risk level to moderate in Orange and Athol.
So far this year, no human or animal case of EEE has been detected.
“This second early finding reinforces our concern about EEE activity this season,” added State Epidemiologist, Dr. Catherine Brown. “We urge all Massachusetts residents to be aware of the risks associated with mosquito bites and to take precautions against being bitten.”