ORANGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year.
The presence of EEE was confirmed on Friday by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory. The infected mosquito sample was collected on July 1st in the community of Orange, in Franklin County.
The state DPH said no human or animal case of EEE has been detected so far this year.
However, the DPH said the positive EEE sample in Orange increases the risk level of EEE to "moderate" in the communities of Orange and Athol.
“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE, therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year.”
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE is generally spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019, with six deaths. There were also nine cases in domestic animals.
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