Deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Threatens Mass. Communities
Eastern equine encephalitis is forcing some Massachusettes communities to change high school sports game schedules as officials issue warnings over the fatal illness. Communities across the state are prepping in an effort to help stop the spread of the dangerous mosquito-borne disease.
Many Massachusettes communities are now being determined to have a critical risk level in concern with deadly Eastern equine encephalitis as more people continue to be diagnosed.
As it stands, 39 cities are at a high-risk level and 32 others are considered critical risk.
Many communities are adjusting their Friday night football game schedules around the elevated risks. Games are being moved to daytime hours to help prevent further spread.
A southwestern Middlesex County man in his 70’s is now the fifth person statewide to be diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis, his current condition remains unknown.
The state of Massachusettes risk level categories can be seen in the illustration below.
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Nine farm animals have been diagnosed with the illness. Residents are being encouraged to use protective mosquito repellent as a preventative measure. Those who live in a high-risk area are being told to stay inside during dusk and dawn hours, timeslots which typically see an uptick in mosquito activity.
Eastern equine encephalitis can be fatal for people of all ages and health statuses. Other notable Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak periods in Massachusettes were the years 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. In each of those years, the state saw 22 total cases. 392 mosquitos have been sampled to have a positive Eastern equine encephalitis diagnosis.
Communities across the state continue to spray for mosquitos using trucks. The aerial spraying for many communities has ceased due to low nighttime temperatures which lower the effectiveness of the spraying. Please read our outbreak and pandemic guide for more information on illnesses. It is imperative that those living in the northeast remain vigilant against both ticks and mosquitoes this time of year. Ticks are dangerous due to their ability to spread Lyme Disease.
Wearing long sleeves can help prevent ticks, but often aren’t enough to fight off mosquito bites.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.