State officials announce 9th human case of EEE in Massachusetts 

Published: 9/19/2019 9:45:22 PM
Modified: 9/19/2019 9:45:09 PM

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that laboratory testing has confirmed the 9th human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, a man in his 70s from Essex County. As a result, risk levels have been raised to high in Ipswich and Topsfield, and to moderate in Beverly, Danvers, Hamilton, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Middleton, Newbury, Newburyport, and Wenham.

There are 35 communities now at critical risk, 40 at high risk, and 128 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in Massachusetts.

“We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We urge the public to use bug spray, wear long sleeves and pants and socks to reduce exposed skin, and stay indoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”

In addition to the nine human cases of EEE this season in Massachusetts, there have also been eight confirmed cases of EEE this year in animals - seven horses and a goat. One person has died. There has also been one human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this season.

State officials continue to remind residents throughout the Commonwealth to take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Residents can learn more about EEE and ways to protect themselves on DPH’s website.

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. There were 22 human cases of EEE infection during those two outbreak periods with 14 cases occurring among residents of Bristol and Plymouth counties.

EEE virus has been found in 417 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people. An additional 76 mosquitos have tested positive for WNV.

As previously announced, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is conducting aerial spraying for mosquitoes tonight and through the weekend in parts of Middlesex, Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth counties. As always, aerial spraying is weather and equipment dependent and falling evening temperatures will affect the ability to conduct an effective spraying operation. Aerial mosquito spraying in specific communities in Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties was concluded Wednesdsay evening.

Residents are encouraged to visit the DPH website at www.mass.gov/eee for the latest updates on spraying in their communities.


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