By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the human Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) case reported in Massachusetts last week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that laboratory testing confirmed the second case of EEE virus infection, in a male between the ages of 19-30 from eastern Worcester County.

Eastern equine encephalitis /CDC

This is the second human case of EEE in Massachusetts this year. The risk level in seven communities has been raised to critical as a result.

The ten communities now at critical risk are Hopkinton in Middlesex County, and Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Upton, and Westborough in Worcester County. Easton, Norton and Raynham are also at critical risk. In addition, Framingham and Marlborough in Middlesex County, and Millbury, Northborough, and Sutton in Worcester County are considered at high risk.

“The most intense level of EEE activity is still being seen in Bristol and Plymouth Counties,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “However, in active EEE years, the virus may move outside of southeastern Massachusetts. This is evidence of that movement, and residents in the area of increased risk should use mosquito repellent and avoid outdoor activities at night. ”

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All residents are reminded that they should continue to use mosquito repellent and those in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.

In total across Massachusetts, there are 19 communities now at critical risk, 18 at high risk, and 24 at moderate risk for the EEE virus as determined by DPH.

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. There were 22 human cases of EEE infection during those two outbreak periods with 14 cases occurring among residents of Bristol and Plymouth Counties.

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