HCN News & Notes

State Public-health Officials Announce Season’s First Human Case of EEE

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that laboratory testing confirmed the first human case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County. As a result, the risk level in the communities of Carver and Middleborough in Plymouth County has been raised to critical.

In addition, 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.

DPH is working with the local health departments, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and local mosquito-control projects to coordinate 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 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,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “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.”