The Massachusetts Department of Health says its has confirmed the state’s first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The man, who has been treated and released from at hospital, is said to be in his 60s and live in MetroWest. It is not know which community he resides in, but he is from Middlesex County.
The state said the area where he lives did not have any EEE detected in mosquitoes this year.
The man became ill on July 28, according to the state. The state did note that he recently traveled out of state to the Mid-Atlantic region, where he reported receiving several mosquito bites.
State health officials said where the man contracted EEE is unclear.
The man lives in an area of Massachusetts that is considered low risk for EEE.
In 2012, there have been no pools of EEE-positive, mammal-biting mosquitoes found in that region of the state. The Department of Public Health will increase mosquito trapping and testing in the Metrowest region, but there has been no evidence of EEE activity that would merit raising the risk level.
“This is another unfortunate reminder of the seriousness of the EEE virus,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMaria. “We urge all Massachusetts residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illness. Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Use insect repellant and wear socks, long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites, particularly during those times of the day.”
EEE is a serious disease in all ages and can even cause death. The first symptoms of EEE are fever (often 103ºF to 106ºF), stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy. These symptoms show up three to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous and frequent serious complication. The disease gets worse quickly and some patients may go into a coma within a week.
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.
Avoid Mosquito Bites. Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 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 age 3.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks whenoutdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home 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 discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas.