FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today, August 16, that an individual age 19-30 from Grafton has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
This is the first time that an EEE-positive human case was confirmed in our region and the second EEE-positive human case in the state this year, said the City of Framingham in a media release.
Six days ago, an individual from Plymouth County was confirmed with the disease, according to the state health department.
As a result of this new human case from Grafton, the state raised the risk level for Framingham to critical, according to members of the Framingham City Council.
Originally, the risk was listed as high, but was then elevated to critical, said the Councilors.
The virus that causes EEE is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. In Massachusetts, the virus is most often identified in mosquitoes found in and around freshwater swamps.
Two weeks ago, mosquito samples collected from Framingham tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), which is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state and are found in urban, as well as more rural areas.
While West Nile can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
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. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m- toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of 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 – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains.
Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarians about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent EEE and WNV.
Framingham belongs to the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP). EMMCP has completed applying larvicide to all catch basins in Framingham and continues to do the same in wetlands.
Parts of Framingham were sprayed last week and earlier this summer.