By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
On Monday, Massachusetts state health officials announced the second detection of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus in mosquito samples in less than a week. The finding increases the risk level of EEE to moderate in the communities of Wendell and New Salem.
Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel and local officials to highlight steps the Commonwealth is taking to prepare for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this year. Preparedness measures include ongoing and increased surveillance testing, an updated public awareness campaign, and mitigation efforts such as larvicide, spraying, and horse vaccination. The Administration also highlighted its recently-filed legislation that would authorize a coordinated, proactive, statewide approach to mosquito control activities.
“After Massachusetts experienced a significant outbreak of EEE last year, our Administration has been taking proactive, early steps to prepare for the virus this year, especially as the Commonwealth continues to confront the ongoing public health challenges associated with COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are implementing early mitigation efforts and reminding residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families. We also look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to pass our legislation authorizing a statewide, coordinated approach to EEE.”
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE is generally spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths. There were also nine cases in domestic animals.
“This second early finding reinforces our concern about EEE activity this season,” said State Epidemiologist, Dr. Catherine Brown. “We urge all Massachusetts residents to be aware of the risks associated with mosquito bites and to take precautions against being bitten.”
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