On Thursday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced the fifth confirmed human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection.
A man in his 70s from Ashland has been confirmed to have the virus. As a result, the risk level in Ashland, as well as two Worcester County towns — Hopedale and Milford — has been raised to critical and the risk level in Bellingham, Blackstone and Millville has been raised to high.
In total, there are 32 communities now at critical risk, 39 at high risk, and 121 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in Massachusetts.
A map of the state’s current EEE risk levels can be found here.
There have also been nine confirmed cases of EEE this year in animals — eight horses and one goat.
“Even as the weather begins to cool, it remains critically important that people take steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.
EEE virus has been found in 392 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people.
The DPH is imploring all Massachusetts residents to use mosquito repellent and those in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
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