More Human Cases of EEE Virus Confirmed in MA

A mosquito bites a human arm in an AP

A mosquito bites a human arm in an AP

Here are a few simple tips to live a mosquito-free summer.

A fifth person in MA has been diagnosed with the life-threatening mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus, state health officials said Thursday.

Officials at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say a horse in York County had to be euthanized recently after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Further details on the man's condition were not provided.

The girl is being treated at an area hospital and as a result of her confirmed case, the risk level for EEE has been raised to critical in Framingham, Marlborough, Northborough, and Sudbury.

In total, there are 36 communities now at critical risk, 42 at high risk, and 115 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in MA.

While the risk of being infected with Eastern equine encephalitis virus is low, the health unit said, the reports of the infected horses serve as an important reminder to residents to continue to take precautions to avoid illness spread by mosquitoes, as well as other carriers, such as ticks. EEE causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses and camelids than West Nile Virus infection.

The CDC says that EEE is one of the most risky mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S.

Ten cases of the virus have been diagnosed this year and the last five were diagnosed within the last two weeks. Some people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms. Others will experience a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. There is no human vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for EEE virus infections. Just like with West Nile virus, the best way to protect yourself from EEE is to prevent mosquito bites.

Use an insect repellent approved by Health Canada and follow the application recommendations on the package.

In response to the fifth case, Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have asked the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) "for [information] about federal research into EEE so we can prevent and treat this unsafe illness", she said in a tweet.

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