|September 7, 2012|
Yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that a second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed.
EEE is spread to humans through a bite from an infected mosquito and is a serious and potentially fatal disease in patients of all ages.
In this recent case, a male resident from the MetroWest area of Worcester County in his 70s was admitted to the hospital in early August and died several days later. The diagnosis was not confirmed until an autopsy was completed and officials estimate that he was exposed to EEE during the first week of August. This is the first confirmed death from EEE in Massachusetts this year.
Since the investigation is still ongoing, this announcement does not immediately impact EEE threat levels in the MetroWest region but you can still protect yourselves and your loved ones by following these important tips:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under 2 months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should replace potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horses should be kept in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV), another mosquito-borne illness.
If an animal is diagnosed with EEE or WNV, owners are required to report to the Division of Animal Health by calling (617) 626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health by calling (617) 983-6800.
For more information, please visit www.mass.gov/dph/wnv or call the Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.
Enjoy your weekend and stay safe!
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