BOSTON (WWLP) – State public health officials announced on Monday the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus infection in Massachusetts.
The Department of Public Health confirmed that a teenage boy under the age of 18 from Plymouth County was exposed to EEE. The risk level in two communities, Carver and Middleborough, have been raised to critical.
Also, DPH said Kingston, Plympton, and Rochester are at high risk. Bridgewater, Halifax, Lakeville, Plymouth, and Wareham in Plymouth County, and Raynham and Taunton in Bristol County are now at moderate risk.
“EEE is rare, but it is a serious disease and public health concern, and we remind residents of the need to protect themselves from mosquito bites as EEE activity increases,” stated Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “The single best prevention tool continues to be avoiding mosquito bites by using repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, weather permitting, and avoiding outdoor activity between the hours of dusk and dawn in the highest risk areas.”
All residents are reminded to use mosquito repellent any time they are outside, and those in high and critical risk communities are advised to schedule their outdoor activity to avoid the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to the mosquitoes most likely to spread EEE.
EEE is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. In Massachusetts, there were 12 human cases of EEE in 2019 with six deaths.
State health officials say EEE virus has been found in 29 mosquito samples this year, including in species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people
Here is more information about current mosquito activity across the state.