EEE Found In Mosquitoes From Halifax

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus has been found in mosquitoes from Halifax . The positive mosquito sample was collected on September 5. This represents the third EEE virus positive mosquito sample found in Massachusetts this year. EEE virus positive mosquito samples were previously found in Carver and Berkley.

In addition to EEE, West Nile Virus (WNV) continues to be found in both birds and mosquitoes. There have been 30 positive samples of WNV in birds and mosquitoes during the past week from Bristol, Essex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties.

“Even though cooler weather is predicted for the remainder of the week, mosquitoes are still active,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “It’s important to continue to use repellant to avoid being bitten. We want to prevent any human cases of EEE and WNV this year.”

While there weren’t any human cases of EEE during 2007, there were 13 cases with 6 deaths during the last outbreak cycle during 2004 through 2006. In 2007, there were six human cases of WNV in Massachusetts.

Both EEE and WNV are usually spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV can infect people of all ages but people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. EEE is a generally more serious disease in all ages and can even cause death.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.
Avoid Mosquito Bites

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* 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.

* Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

* Apply Insect Repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with 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.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

* Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

* Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Report Dead Birds

* Dead crows or blue jays may be a sign that WNV is circulating among the birds and mosquitoes in your area. Call 1-866-MASS WNV to report a dead bird. By reporting dead birds, you can play an important role in monitoring WNV.

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