By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Massachusetts state health officials are reporting the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection.

The patient is a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County.

“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 Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “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.”

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.

The risk level in the two communities of Carver and Middleborough in Plymouth County has been raised to critical.

EEE is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. In Massachusetts there were 12 human cases of EEE in 2019 with 6 deaths.