SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Mosquitoes collected in Seekonk have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, the town confirmed Tuesday.
The town did not reveal where the infected mosquitoes were trapped but said it is working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to monitor EEE activity.
It’s been a particularly active year for EEE, with a number of areas deemed high or critical risk. The disease has claimed the life of a West Warwick resident, and three people have died in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.
According to the Health Department’s website, Seekonk is at moderate risk for EEE.
EEE is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. While human cases remain rare, people over the age of 50 are most at risk.
Health officials urge people to take steps to avoid exposure, including:
- Using insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET
- Wearing long sleeves and long pants
- Avoiding outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, which are peak mosquito hours.
- Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds by removing standing water
- Repairing holes in window screens