State Health Officials Report the First EEE Infected Mosquitoes of the Season

The risk level has been raised in Plymouth County.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year. The testing, which was conducted at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute, was conducted on samples collected in the town of Bridgewater in Plymouth County.

Just last week, the state announced that mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus had also been detected. Although no elevated risk alert was issued then, the finding raises the risk level in the town of Bridgewater to moderate. Officials say that raising the risk alert level now is standard protocol:

This is a routine risk level change and does not include a recommendation to avoid evening outdoor events at this time; but reducing exposure to mosquitoes is always recommended. The adjacent towns of West Bridgewater, Easton, Raynham and Middleborough are already at moderate based on last year’s EEE activity.

“EEE is an annual occurrence in Massachusetts,” said DPH State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown in a statement. “These were mammal-biting mosquitoes, and the findings should remind residents of the area to cover up and apply insect repellent when outdoors.”

According to a report issued by the DPH, there have been no human cases of either West Nile Virus or EEE so far this year:

There have been no human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) or EEE so far this year. Last year, there was one case of EEE acquired by a Massachusetts resident. EEE is usually spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE is a serious disease in all ages and can even cause death.