The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Friday a human case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a 61-year-old Quincy resident. It is believed that this person contracted the disease in Plymouth County.
The risk level of cities and towns are made based on likely location of exposure not necessarily place of residents. This does not change the risk level in Quincy, which remains at remote.
EEE virus has caused 38 human infections in Massachusetts residents with 15 deaths between 2000 and 2019. In addition to the case identified in Quincy, there have been three other human EEE cases identified in Massachusetts: one from Hampden County and two from Plymouth County.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness. By taking a few, common sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loves ones:
- Apply insect repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus 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 percent 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.
- 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.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours – the hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. When risk is increased, consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- Drain standing water – mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flower pots 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 your windows and doors.
While the Quincy Health Department continues to work closely with the MDPH, locally the health department is actively involved with Norfolk County Mosquito Control regarding the control of mosquitoes in Quincy. For detailed information visit https://www.quincyma.gov.