FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (WPRI) — According to several Boston media outlets, relatives of a Fairhaven woman say she died after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed a woman over the age of 50 in Bristol County tested positive for EEE Sunday.
The identity of the woman has not yet been released and officials have not yet confirmed any deaths from the illness.
It’s the fourth human case of EEE in Massachusetts this year and comes as recent EEE findings in mosquitoes have been rampant in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, the state began aerial spraying in and around the affected communities.
On Sunday, the town of Fairhaven tweeted saying, “word is circulating online about a possible EEE case” in their community and that it would keep residents updated as it learns more.
At the time, Mary Freire-Kellogg with the Fairhaven Board of Health said the department was contacted by a local family who said their loved one was diagnosed with EEE. She said the state health department has yet to confirm the case.
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. It’s been found in 333 mosquito samples in Massachusetts this year, according to health officials.
Here are some recommendations on how to protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Dump out any standing water near your home.
- Use screens on windows or air conditioning to keep them outside.
- Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET.
- Avoid being outside during peak biting hours – usually between dusk and dawn.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and high socks if you’re outside during peak biting hours.