Massachusetts reports first EEE-positive mosquito sample


In this Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 photo, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito is a vector for the proliferation of the Zika virus spreading throughout Latin America. New figures from Brazil’s Health Ministry show that the Zika virus outbreak has not caused as many confirmed cases of a rare brain defect as first feared. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

BOSTON (WPRI) ─ It’s mosquito season once again, and the Masschusetts Department of Public Health announced Friday that the state has had its first detection of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

The health department says EEE was found in a mosquito sample collected on July 1, which was located in Orange.

At this time, the health department says the virus has not yet been detected in humans or animals.

Fact Sheet: Signs & Symptoms of Mosquito-Borne Diseases »

Following the findings, the EEE-risk level in both Orange and Athol was raised to moderate.

“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said. “It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE, therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year.”

Last year’s mosquito season began quietly but quickly erupted in Southern New England, raising EEE risk levels significantly across both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. At least one person died from EEE in Rhode Island, six deaths in Massachusetts and three in Connecticut.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown said thankfully, many people have been staying indoors away from mosquitoes. But even so, everyone should be vigilant and take the necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

“As we venture out, we want to remind people about the need to protect themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes,’’ she said.

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