First EEE-positive mosquito of 2020 detected in Orange

Staff Writer
Published: 7/5/2020 11:10:14 AM
Modified: 7/5/2020 11:10:11 AM

ORANGE — The first Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)-positive mosquito of the year has been detected in Orange, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Friday.

The positive test result came from a mosquito collected on July 1.

“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel. “It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE. Therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year.”

As a result of the findings, EEE risk levels for Orange and Athol have been updated to moderate.

The DPH is advising that residents start use bug spray to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, as transmission to humans typically occurs when an infected mosquito bites a human.

The reminder comes as people who have been spending time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic begin to “venture out.”

“We want to remind people about the need to protect themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes,’’ said Catherine Brown, epidemiologist with the state Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “We are also asking people to remain aware of the level of virus activity in areas where they live, work and play.”

According to the DPH, no animals or humans have tested positive for the extremely rare, but often fatal disease.

Reach Mary Byrne at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or

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