Massachusetts health officials say eastern equine encephalitis has been detected in a mosquito in the state for the first time this year.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement Wednesday, saying the virus was detected in mosquito samples collected on Aug. 17 in Lakeville.
Authorities said the finding does not indicate an elevate EEE risk but protecting yourself from mosquitoes should remain a high priority.
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There have been no human cases of EEE so far this year and none acquired by a Massachusetts resident in 2017, according to health officials.
"We have been fortunate over the last several years to see little evidence of EEE activity," said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, MD. MPH. "Despite that, we know EEE occurs in Massachusetts and this is a timely reminder of that fact."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease is not apparent in most infected persons. In severe cases, infected persons can suffer from high fevers and vomiting which and can progress to seizures or comas.
Ways residents can protect themselves include:
- Apply insect repellent when outdoors
- Use a repellent with DEET
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours (The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes)
- Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin
- Install or repair screens at home to keep mosquitoes outside