Showing posts with label EEE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EEE. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2020

In the News: "second human case of Eastern equine encephalitis"

 From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin: 

"The state Department of Public Health is reporting the year’s second human case of Eastern equine encephalitis.

State health officials said a woman in her 60s was exposed to the EEE virus in Hampden County.

As a result, the EEE risk level in Wilbraham has been raised to “critical,” while the risk levels in Hampden and Monson have been raised to “high.” All three communities are in Hampden County.

In addition, the risk level in the Hampden County communities of Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Palmer and Springfield has been raised to “moderate.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Listen to my conversation with Franklin Health Director Cathleen Liberty on mosquito and tick borne diseases

For more about EEE in MA, check out the page  and the risk map copied below

EEE risk map
EEE risk map

Friday, August 7, 2020

Board of Health Recap: - Weds, Aug 5, 2020

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online #boh0805

  • Real time reporting underway for the Board of Health meeting. #boh0805
  • Cathleen Liberty spending at least 6 hours per week on the school re-opening process providing guidance from the health perspective. #boh0805
  • EDS drive through discussion, plan sounding good, process handbook best seen thus far, logistics to be worked; include Senior Center and Housing Auth in planning for this flu clinic. #boh0805
  • Arbovirus report, DPH reports first human EEE case in Plymouth County, individual has recovered. Norfolk County mosquito control webpage has info on testing process. #boh0805 all applications now online for permits via ToF page
  • BOH members sharing kudos for Cathleen, Ginny and Tyler for their efforts on everything along with COVID-19 #boh0805 intern generated survey, initial results showed depression widespread among Community. New survey got over 800 responses, not related to school process
  • Food inspections found 3 problems, resulted in one establishment getting closed down (name not revealed - assumed a quick turn on issue) #boh0805 safe celebration document to be shared. 2 businesses were notified by MA DLS for non-compliance with COVID-19 violation
  • Calls on RI about their status change per MA change, work exemption applies should be only point to point and not for recreational purposes. DPH will send spreadsheet to BoH for tracking on quarantine #boh0805 next meeting, Weds Sep 2. No citizen comments/questions
  • Motion to adjourn, approved. Meeting ends. Catch you all next time #boh0805

The agenda for this meeting can be found

Board of Health Recap: - Weds, Aug 5, 2020
Board of Health Recap: - Weds, Aug 5, 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Residents from Mosquito-Borne Viruses

 Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Residents from Mosquito-Borne Viruses
Bill creates system to help Massachusetts mitigate spread of arboviruses like EEE  

The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday passed legislation that will help protect residents from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne arbovirus that is rare but can be fatal. The bill, which now moves to the governor's desk, comes amid an already active mosquito season across the state.

"We must act quickly to protect our residents given the mosquito season is well underway and health officials this week discovered the presence of the EEE virus for the third time after testing mosquito samples," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "Central Massachusetts, for the first time, was one of the many areas impacted by last year's EEE outbreak.  With chances of EEE continuing to spread to other areas of the state, now is the time to act. This bill establishes a comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling EEE that will reach all corners of the Commonwealth. I would like to thank Senators Comerford and Rodrigues for advancing this issue with urgency. I look forward to seeing this critical bill become law." 

Last year, Massachusetts saw a resurgence of EEE, with more than two hundred communities designated as moderate to critical risk by the Department of Public Health (DPH). The virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and can impact humans of any age as well as animals. Massachusetts typically experiences outbreaks every 10-20 years, and the outbreak can last for two to three years. In late September 2019, the DPH confirmed three people died due to EEE. Prior to 2019, the most recent outbreak, according to state health officials, began in 2010.  

The bill authorizes the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB) to take actions to reduce the mosquito population if the Department of Public Health determines there may be an elevated risk of EEE.  

These actions include public education, surveillance of the mosquito population, elimination of standing water and application of larvicides that safely prevent mosquitoes from becoming adults. The SRMCB would also be authorized to conduct aerial pesticide spraying, subject to notifying the public and putting in place procedural safeguards. Certain landowners, such as owners of organic farms, may apply to opt-out of spraying, and a municipality may opt-out of spraying if the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs approves an alternative mosquito management plan provided by the municipality. The bill also creates a Mosquito Control for the 21st Century Task Force to recommend reforms to modernize and improve the state's mosquito control system. 

The bill now moves to the governor for consideration.

Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Residents from Mosquito-Borne Viruses
Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Residents from Mosquito-Borne Viruses

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Gov Baker: Prep for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) (video)

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today joined Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel and local officials to highlight steps the Commonwealth is taking to prepare for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this year. Preparedness measures include ongoing and increased surveillance testing, an updated public awareness campaign, and mitigation efforts such as larvicide, spraying, and horse vaccination. The Administration also highlighted its recently-filed legislation that would authorize a coordinated, proactive, statewide approach to mosquito control activities.
Video link =

New DPH mosquito and tick web page

Health Director Cathleen Liberty talks about EEE in January

and more recently about tick borne diseases in May

Gov Baker press release

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Senate President Spilka's Message, June 15, 2020

Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka offers and updates on the Senate's efforts to address racial justice, as well as an upcoming debate on vote-by-mail legislation. She also reviews the passage of funding for transportation infrastructure and EEE protections.
Video link =

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dept of Public Health: Learn more about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) (video)

"Learn more about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the threat of this mosquito-borne illness this summer."

Video link =

Shared from =

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

FM #196 - Cathleen Liberty, Franklin’s Health Director

FM #196 =This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 196 in the series, that we are now collaborating on with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

Cathleen Liberty, Franklin’s new Health Director, sat with me recently at the Franklin TV studio on 23 Hutchinson St to record. We believe this will be an introductory session, one of a series on health issues and how Franklin can be healthy.

We get a little background on the Health Dept operations, a quick recap of the EEE situation, and some teasers on future topics like mold, backyard poultry, and other tick borne diseases.

Listen to our conversation, approximately 13 minutes

Audio link ->


She mentions the CHNA 6 network. The community members she works with represent the following:

CHNA 6 - Community Partners for Health
Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton, and Uxbridge

Find out more about the CHNA 6 group on the MA government

The Town of Franklin Health Dept page


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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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FM #196 - Cathleen Liberty, Franklin’s Health Director
FM #196 - Cathleen Liberty, Franklin’s Health Director

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Public Health Advisory September 24, 2019 - EEE

"As everyone is aware, the summer and early fall of 2019 has been an exceptionally severe year for mosquito-borne illness; specifically, eastern equine encephalitis. Although EEE activity is historically focused in Bristol and Plymouth counties, this dangerous virus has spread throughout the commonwealth into areas not typically impacted. A combination of wet weather and extreme heat has resulted in a high level of virus amplification in the environment. As a result, there have been 10 human cases of EEE with 3 fatalities to date.

In response, the Massachusetts department of public health began aerial spraying in Bristol and Plymouth counties in August and September. Additional aerial spraying was also conducted in Norfolk, Middlesex, Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester counties in September. The town of Franklin was sprayed in its entirety on September 11, 2019. The combination of aerial and ground spraying, along with decreasing evening temperatures have reduced mosquito numbers; however, the threat will remain until the first hard frost of the season. A hard frost is defined as a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 consecutive hours, or a temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 consecutive hours.

Although the threat has been diminished somewhat, it is very important for residents to continue to take all steps necessary to avoid mosquito bites until the first hard frost occurs sometime in mid to late October. Please continue to use a repellent containing Deet, wear long sleeves shirts and long pants when outdoors. If possible, avoid being outside during peak mosquito biting times between dusk and dawn.

It is not unusual for areas to experience elevated EEE virus levels in consecutive years. As such, residents should be fully prepared to respond appropriately next summer as well."

David E. McKearney, R.S. 
Public Health Director 
Franklin Health Department

This was shared from the Town of Franklin page

There is additional spraying via helicopter scheduled for Sep 25 as announced in the file here

Monday, September 16, 2019

In the News: What are the symptoms of EEE?

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

The Daily News and the Standard-Times of New Bedford asked readers what their questions are about the EEE virus, its threat to animals and humans, and the best ways people can protect themselves from it.

In response, we received more than 50 questions and, after eliminating duplicates, sent them to the state Department of Public Health to be answered. The answers below are grouped by general topic. All answers are from Dr. Catherine Brown, state epidemiologist with the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at DPH, unless otherwise noted.
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

In the News: Going to the CDC for help on EEE; commuter rail $10 weekend fare popular

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The prevalence of Eastern equine encephalitis in Massachusetts this year has prompted Gov. Charlie Baker to float the idea of broader prevention efforts next year and two MetroWest area members of Congress to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about funding and other assistance.

The state Department of Public Health on Friday announced an eighth confirmed case of EEE, in a man in his 50s from northeastern Bristol County. One human case of another mosquito-borne illness, West Nile virus, and eight confirmed cases of EEE in animals have also been logged so far this year.

Public health officials have been advising residents to continue taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites - wearing bug spray, long sleeves and pants, and staying inside between dusk and dawn - even as the weather gets cooler in September.

On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy III and Katherine Clark wrote to CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, noting that hundreds of mosquitoes across Massachusetts have tested positive for the virus and the number of confirmed human cases in the state “has already exceeded the national average of cases reported to the CDC annually.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"The commuter rail’s $10 unlimited weekend pass has quickly become a popular option for travelers with more than half a million sold since it was introduced in May 2018, though it remains unclear how much the ticket type has affected overall ridership, officials said.

Keolis, which is under contract to operate the MBTA commuter rail network for the next three years, announced Tuesday that customers purchased 584,000 weekend tickets over the past 16 months.

The company did not provide exact numbers linking the new option to financial growth, but said in its press release that commuter rail revenue has increased 25% over the last four years.

Keolis also said it would be difficult to quantify overall weekend ridership before and after the new pass was piloted and then made permanent, but that the $10 unlimited ticket contributed to some growth."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)