Risk level raised to critical in Wilbraham after second human case of EEE

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts health experts confirmed a second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE in the state, this time in Hampden County.

DPH: Second human case of EEE confirmed in Massachusetts

The rare but serious disease is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

“They’re attracted to us by the carbon dioxide from our exhaled breath,” Natasha Wright, an entomologist with Braman Termite & Pest Elimination explained. “Scientific studies also show they like people with O blood type and people that sweat a lot.”

DPH identified the case as a woman in her 60s from Hampden County. Accordingly, DPH raised the risk level in Wilbraham to critical and raised the surrounding areas of Hampden and Monson to high. Additionally, Chicopee, Ludlow, Springfield, East Longmeadow and Palmer are at a moderate risk.

Wright suggests, “When you go outside, wearing long sleeves, light colors is preferred over dark colors because mosquitoes can see the silhouette of animals. So light colors they have trouble seeing versus dark and of course long pants, socks, shoes.”

Risk for EEE increasing in Massachusetts: How to protect yourself

Governor Baker spoke about the virus’ impact this year.

We can expect the 2020 season to feature a high number of cases again. Our administration has been planning for the 2020 season, and it’s taken a number of steps to protect people and communities from EEE.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Outbreaks can last two to three years and DPH says 2019 was likely the first year after 12 cases and six deaths in the state. But the good news, humans can’t pass it to each other.

Experts recommend avoiding outdoor activity during dawn and dust, when the highest amount of mosquitoes are outside.

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