Massachusetts Department of Health Warns Public of Second EEE Case of 2020
Health officials have reported finding mosquitoes infected with Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in areas of Massachusetts, including Bridgewater.
The mosquitoes collected on August 7, 2020, are part of an ongoing testing initiative across the state. Each of these mosquitoes tested positive for the virus. The infected mosquitoes were collected in the Northeastern part of Bridgewater.
Additionally, a positive sample was collected on August 4, 2020, in Hanson, Mass. Other positive samples were collected in Middleboro, Carver, Plympton, Kingston, and Wareham during the month of July this year.
On August 3, 2020, a boy under the age of 18 became the first Massachusetts resident to test positive with Eastern equine encephalitis in 2020.
The state confirmed its second case on August 15, when a 60-year-old woman was exposed to the virus in Hampden County.
Massachusetts residents and visitors are urged to take precautions.
Dusk until dawn are considered peak hours for mosquito bites, outdoor activities should be rescheduled for earlier in the day.
And even though the temperatures are rising, long-sleeve shirts and pants can help protect your skin from potential bites.
What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis?
Eastern equine encephalitis virus was discovered in 1933 during a large-scale equine epizootic in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States.
It was only five years later, in 1938 when the first confirmed human case was discovered in Massachusetts.
The mosquito-transmitted virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, is also referred to as Triple E, EEE, or sleeping sickness. It is classified as an arbovirus, which is a disease spread by a mosquito or other arthropod.
When we think of mosquito-transmitted viruses, West Nile virus typically comes to mind first, as it is much more prevalent. But EEE tends to be more debilitating, even deadly.
What are the Risks of EEE to Humans?
EEE is transmitted through an infected mosquito bite and can lead to a brain inflammation known as encephalitis.
The virus can also cause ongoing neurological problems, even death.
People at the highest risk of developing a disease or complication due to EE are individuals under the age of 15 or over the age of 50.
Those who live in wooded or swamp areas, like some areas of Massachusetts, have a greater chance of potential exposure.
What are the Symptoms of EEE?
If a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito, they can anticipate developing symptoms of EEE in approximately four to 10 days.
The symptoms of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headaches, and vomiting. Symptoms can then progress to disorientation, seizures, and then a coma.
At this time, there is no treatment for EEE. Options like anti-viral drugs and antibiotics have proven to be ineffective against the virus. But there is an EEE vaccine for horses.
Supportive therapy including hospitalization, respiratory support, and IV fluids can be used to help make the person a little more comfortable.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites & EEE Transmission
As we enjoy our time outside, it can feel nearly impossible to prevent mosquito bites.
But there are ways to discourage groups of mosquitoes (known as scourges) from lingering on your property.
Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to take precautions in an effort to eliminate a mosquito infestation on their property.
Standing water is a favorite spot for the pest as it is an ideal place to lay their eggs. Standing water areas can include wetlands, pools, plastic toys, tarps, even plant saucers, or water bowls.
Eliminating the standing water, removing debris and/or clutter from the property can help encourage mosquitoes to look elsewhere.
To further reduce the possibility of an infestation, Catseye Pest Control offers a one-of-a-kind organic program that helps eliminate mosquitoes and ticks.
Our Organic Tick and Mosquito Program includes an in-depth inspection of the property, establishing a customized treatment plan, and monthly visits to create an organic protective barrier around the property.
The products used by our technicians are environmentally friendly, safe for your family, guests, and pets while providing a protective barrier around the property.
To learn more about how Catseye can protect you from unwanted pests like mosquitoes, contact our pest and wildlife professionals today.