Tri-town at high risk for EEE

Aug 2, 2019

The state Department of Public Health announced that Rochester, Mattapoisett and Marion were all at high risk for eastern equine encephalitis, more commonly known as EEE. 

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. The disease occurs sporadically in Massachusetts. 

The Department of Public Health will work with the local communities, local Mosquito Control Projects and other mosquito control experts to coordinate surveillance and discuss appropriate public health response.

The Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project plans to use a truck to spray in Marion and Mattapoisett on Monday morning from 2 a.m. to half an hour before sunrise. Mattapoisett has suspended all activity on town beaches, parks and ball fields from dusk to dawn until further notice.The Department of Conservation and Recreation has also suspended evening programs in Mattapoisett’s Nasketucket Bay State Reservation to lower the risk of participants being bit. 

With the “high risk” status, the board recommends that residents take all of the precautions for low and medium risks, adjust outdoor activities to avoid peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn), and avoid overnight camping, especially near swamps. 

To avoid the virus in a low risk area, individuals should wear mosquito repellent, and long sleeves and pants between dusk and dawn. They should also use mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens. A “moderate risk” condition indicates that EEE has occurred in a given area within the last year and/or mosquitoes in the area currently have the EEE virus. In addition to the low risk measures, individuals in these areas should avoid areas with obvious mosquito activity, and wear repellent whenever outdoors.

Other tips to mosquito-proof homes include getting rid of any standing water where they could lay eggs, and checking to make sure that screens are secure. 

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health three mosquito samples in Mattapoisett tested positive for EEE on July 23. The virus has also been detected in nine mosquito samples collected in Marion this year.