Second EEE-positive mosquito found in Wendell

Staff Report
Published: 7/6/2020 6:16:21 PM

WENDELL — Just days after the first Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)-positive mosquito of the year was detected in Orange, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Monday that another mosquito carrying the disease was found in Wendell.

The second positive test result came from a mosquito collected on Sunday, according to a DPH press release. The finding increases the risk level of EEE to moderate in the communities of Wendell and New Salem. The risk level for Orange and Athol is also moderate, following the initial detection of a EEE-positive mosquito on July 1.

“We are seeing EEE activity in mosquitoes very early in the season,’’ commented Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel. “We will continue to conduct additional surveillance, including trapping and testing mosquitoes in the region over the next several weeks to better inform our guidance to local communities.”

According to the DPH, EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths, as well as nine cases in domestic animals.

So far this year, no human or animal case of EEE has been detected.

“This second early finding reinforces our concern about EEE activity this season,” said Catherine Brown, epidemiologist with the state Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “We urge all Massachusetts residents to be aware of the risks associated with mosquito bites and to take precautions against being bitten.”

The DPH is advising that residents use bug spray to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, as transmission to humans typically occurs when an infected mosquito bites a human. The department also suggests rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during peak mosquito hours, and wearing long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks when outside.

Additionally, because mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, the DPH advises residents to empty any unused flower pots, wading pools or other items that might hold stagnant water, and to change the water in bird baths frequently. Similarly, water troughs should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas, and horse owners are advised to keep their animals inside at night if possible and talk to their veterinarians about mosquito repellents and vaccinations.

If an animal is suspected of having West Nile virus or EEE, owners are required to report to the Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795, and to the Department of Public Health by calling 617-983-6800.

Information about current mosquito activity is updated daily and can be found at mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks.




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