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EEE in Mosquitoes That Bite Mammals (That Means You!) In Massachusetts

“Finding mammal-biting mosquitoes infected with EEE is of great concern to us”, said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Earlier in the season, all of our infected mosquitoes were the bird-biting kind, which are less likely to spread disease to people.”

In 2010, there was one case of EEE in a Massachusetts resident and one case in a Rhode Island resident who was probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts. EEE is usually spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE is a serious disease in people of all ages and can even cause death.

Symptoms of EEE infection in humans include high fever, mental confusion, headache, stiff neck and lack of energy. In many cases, these symptoms progress rapidly to a dangerous swelling of the brain called encephalitis and may lead to coma and even death.

“We are at the time of year when most of our human infections have historically occurred. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to continue to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Dr. DeMaria.

All EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) positive results from 2011 can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.

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

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.

·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.

More information is available on the DPH website: www.mass.gov/dph/wnv. Information about WNV and EEE is also available by calling the DPH recorded information line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968), or the Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

This program aired on August 24, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.

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