Massachusetts: EEE, WNV Positive Mosquito Findings Persist Despite Cooler Weather
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that two mosquito samples from Freetown have tested positive for EEE. Last week, four mosquito samples in New Bedford tested positive for EEE. Previously this year, mosquitoes in Berkley, Carver, Halifax and Raynham have tested positive for EEE.
West Nile Virus (WNV) was also found in both birds and mosquitoes this past week. WNV was found in crows in Blackstone, Maynard, Oakham, South Hadley, Tewksbury and Winchendon, and in a blue jay in Hanson. Mosquito samples tested positive for WNV in Berlin, Fall River, New Bedford and Newton. Boston had positive WNV findings in mosquitoes in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury and the Harbor Islands.
“Even though temperatures have dipped, we continue to see infected EEE and WNV mosquitoes,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “The risk of EEE and WNV will be greatly reduced once we see the first hard frost and the mosquito population dies off. Until then, we urge the public to continue to use mosquito repellent.”
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.