HCN News & Notes

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Arrives in Hampden County

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that laboratory testing confirmed the second human case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, a female in her 60s who was exposed to EEE in Hampden County.

As a result, the EEE risk level in Wilbraham has been raised to critical, and the EEE risk level in Hampden and Monson has been raised to high. All three municipalities are in Hampden County. Additionally, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Palmer, and Springfield in Hampden County have been raised to moderate risk.

Across the Commonwealth, three municipalities are at critical risk for EEE, eight are at high risk, and 20 are at moderate risk. DPH is working with the local health departments and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to coordinate mosquito surveillance and appropriate public-health response activities.

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. There has already been one other human case identified this year. In 2019, there were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts, leading to six deaths.