Amid EEE Outbreak in Mass., Gov. Baker Addresses the Deadly Virus

The outbreak — the first in the state since 2012 — has prompted statewide efforts to reduce mosquito populations through aerial and ground spraying

As the potentially deadly threat grows from EEE, the eastern equine encephalitis virus, Gov. Charlie Baker sat down with several officials Thursday to discuss this summer's outbreak.

Seven people have been infected with the mosquito-borne virus in Massachusetts so far this summer, and this week, the Department of Public Health confirmed that one person's death was linked to EEE. Another person with EEE recently died in Rhode Island.

"This is a very scary issue for people and this is why the commonwealth, for a while now, has had a pretty aggressive program in place working in conjunction with local communities — especially the ones that show the greatest amount of risk," Baker said at a news conference.

The outbreak — the first in the state since 2012 — has prompted statewide efforts to reduce mosquito populations through aerial and ground spraying. About three dozen communities are at critical risk of EEE infection, with about the same amount at high risk, according to state health officials. See a full map here.

Joining Baker at the roundtable at the Lakeville Public Library were the heads of the Energy and Environmental Affairs, Agricultural Resources and Public Health departments, along with local and elected officials.

"These are well-tested and used in many different incidences and there is no evidence of human health impacts on these sprays," said the state’s public health commissioner, Monica Bharel.

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