EEE in Mosquitoes That Bite Mammals (That Means You!) In Massachusetts

This update just in from the state Department of Public Health:

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been found in mosquitoes in the towns of Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Carver, Middleborough, and Rockland in Plymouth County and in Freetown in Bristol County. Infected mosquitoes of the kind that bite mammals, including humans, were found in Carver and Bridgewater this week and had already been found Bridgewater, West Bridgewater and Raynham. Results over the last few weeks indicate that the risk that people may become infected with EEE is high in Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Raynham and Easton and is generally increasing in southeastern Massachusetts.

“Finding mammal-biting mosquitoes infected with EEE is of great concern to us”, said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Earlier in the season, all of our infected mosquitoes were the bird-biting kind, which are less likely to spread disease to people.”

In 2010, there was one case of EEE in a Massachusetts resident and one case in a Rhode Island resident who was probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts. EEE is usually spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE is a serious disease in people of all ages and can even cause death. Continue reading

First West Nile Virus-Positive Mosquitoes Detected in Boston

This just in from the Boston Public Health Commission:

For the first time this summer, mosquito pools in Boston have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the Boston Public Health Commission reported today. Two positive mosquito pools were found in West Roxbury. There have been no confirmed human cases of WNV in Boston this year.

“It’s that time of year when it’s not unexpected to find mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus in the Boston area,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Public Health Commission.

While WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, WNV poses very low risk to humans, Dr. Barry said. But even that low risk can be reduced if people take a few simple steps to protect themselves and their families.

Those steps include using insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting and, when possible, wearing clothing with long sleeves and pants, she said. “People should also mosquito-proof their home by making sure that their window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house,” Dr. Barry said. Continue reading