Mosquitoes can spread diseases that make you sick. In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus or West Nile virus (WNV). EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group. EEE does not occur every year, but based on mosquito sampling, a high risk of occurrence of human cases currently exists.
Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities. The first EEE positive mosquito sample within the State this season was detected in Orange on 7/2/20 and Wendell 7/6/20. Risk levels remain elevated through to frost.
The best way to avoid both of these illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.
You can be bitten at any time. Most mosquitoes are active from just before dusk, through the night until dawn.
There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, and the illnesses they can cause.
Protect yourself from illness by doing simple things:
- Use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
- Wear long-sleeved clothing
- Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the hours from dusk to dawn during peak mosquito season
- Repair damaged window and door screens
- Remove standing water from the areas around your home
See a video from DPH on EEE here: https://youtu.be/VekccoVW6aQ
For more information, including current maps of risk levels and findings of EEE and WNV in Massachusetts see https://www.mass.gov/mosquitoes-and-ticks or contact Regional Public Health Nurse Lisa White for more information at 413-665-1400 x 114.