Anyone working or visiting the woods during times when mosquitos are out should now take precautions against getting Triple E (Eastern Equine Encephalitis).
EEE is a serious but rare disease spread by mosquitoes that can result in high fevers, headaches, brain swelling, and in some cases, death.
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages.
EEE virus has been found in 330 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people. In total across Massachusetts, there are 23 communities now at critical risk, 22 at high risk, and 52 at moderate risk for the EEE virus. The recent outbreak has been in towns in southeastern Mass., southern Worcester County, and northwest Franklin County.
All residents throughout the Commonwealth should apply mosquito repellent when outside, and those in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
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.
Here are some steps to take to avoid exposure to EEE
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N- diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.
Wear Clothing to Prevent Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
The Mass Department of Agriculture is having helicopter spraying done for mosquito control in southeastern Mass and southern parts of Worcester County. More spraying is scheduled for this weekend in those regions but no spraying has yet been considered for the western Franklin County area.
For more information about Triple E, its symptoms and effects, see the following website: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/eee-eastern-equine-encephalitis