State Public Health Officials Announce First 2020 Case of EEE in the Commonwealth
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. On August 3, DPH announced this year’s first human case of EEE virus infection, a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County. Last year, the Commonwealth experienced its most active EEE season since 1956, with 12 human cases and 6 deaths.
Click HERE to see an updated Town by Town risk level map of EEE/West Nile Virus.
“EEE is rare, but it is a serious medical illness, and we remind residents of the need to protect themselves from mosquito bites as EEE activity increases,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “The best prevention continues to be using mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, weather permitting, and avoiding outdoor activity between the hours of dusk and dawn in the highest risk areas.”
For a FAQ regarding mosquito control and spraying, please visit the DPH website here. For information on Mosquito Control activities, please visit the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB) webpage.
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. DPH recommends the following precautions.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months and horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to MDAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to DPH by calling 617-983-6800.
For information on Mosquito Control activities, visit the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources webpage at State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB).
For other updates about EEE in Massachusetts, visit the DPH webpage www.mass.gov/eee.
Information including all West Nile virus and EEE positive results can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.