First human case of eastern equine encephalitis confirmed

August 5, 2020


Katelyn Parsons

Infection occurred in a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County

BOSTON (AP) — Laboratory testing has confirmed the first human case of an eastern equine encephalitis virus infection in Massachusetts this year.

The infection occurred in a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County, the Department of Public Health announced Monday.

As a result, the level of risk to the virus in Carver and Middleborough in Plymouth County has been raised to critical, according to public health officials.

Middleborough Town Manager Robert Nunes said no outdoor activities are permitted on town-owned property from dusk to dawn until further notice.

The DPH is working with local health departments, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and local mosquito control projects to coordinate surveillance and public health response activities, officials said.

Residents are encouraged to use mosquito repellent or dress in long sleeves and pants whenever outside. Those in high and critical risk communities are advised to schedule their outdoor activity to avoid the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to the mosquitoes most likely to spread EEE.

Kingston, Plympton and Rochester are considered high risk.

EEE is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages.

In Massachusetts, there were 12 human cases of EEE in 2019 with 6 deaths. There’s no human vaccine for the virus.

EEE virus has been found in 29 mosquito samples this year, including in species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people.

–Associated Press