Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health
One Human Case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) reported in MA
NO West Nile Virus or EEE positive mosquito or human cases in Bedford so far this season
August 13, 2019 – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was identified in Plymouth County. There have been no human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) reported in MA to date. Mosquitoes have been identified to test positive for WNV and EEE throughout the state. To date, none of the mosquitoes tested from Bedford have been found to carry WNV or EEE and there are no reported human cases in town. WNV and EEE are viruses carried by mosquitoes that can be transmitted by to humans by a mosquito bite and can result in illnesses ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis.
Bedford currently remains at the lowest state assigned risk level for WNV and EEE transmission to humans; however, mosquitoes that carry these viruses are common throughout the state and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. Residents have an important role to play in reducing the risk of WNV and EEE and protecting themselves and their loved ones by taking a few, common-sense precautions.
- Mosquito proof your property – Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to develop by either draining or getting rid of 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 – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of windows and doors.
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two 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 three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
The Bedford Board of Health will continue to work with the MDPH and the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP) to monitor local mosquito populations for WNV and EEE. To control mosquito larvae, each spring EMMCP conducts a helicopter application of biological larvicide to wetland areas in town and annually each summer the Bedford DPW treats catchbasins in town. Additionally, based on acquired surveillance data from four mosquito trap locations in town, the EMMCP will continue with truck mounted spraying events in Bedford to reduce populations of biting adult mosquitoes. The next truck mounted spraying events are scheduled for August 13th and 14th.
Information about mosquito activity in Massachusetts during 2019 can be found on the Mosquito-borne Disease page on the MDPH website at https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases. Facts sheets on WNV, EEE and other mosquito-related materials are available by contacting the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507 or by accessing their website at http://www.bedfordma.gov/health.