Predicted Threat Of EEE Dwindles Thanks To Very Dry Summer
Thu, 09/24/2020 - 4:34pm Heraldgroton
This summer was supposed to be year two of a three-year cycle of EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), the potentially deadly disease that surfaces for three or so years and then generally disappears for seven years, according to state health officials.
Last year (2019), was the worst single year for EEE infections in decades in Massachusetts with twelve people confirmed to have the disease and half of them dying, according to the Department of Public Health. “That is Ebola virus territory,” said Sam Telford, Professor of Infectious Disease and Global Health at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Telford believes the unseasonably dry, hot summer erased breeding areas for mosquitoes. Also, the nights have been cooler than normal nights in recent weeks and mosquitoes are not active when the temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Telford. Still, “We are not out of the woods yet for mosquito season,” he said.
West Nile Virus
Dry and hot conditions are ideal for West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is another disease carried by mosquitoes that has been found in seven people, so far this year, according to DPH records.
Dr. Catherine Brown, State Epidemiologist said that peak transmission of EEE continues until the middle of August and peak transmission of West Nile Virus will continue at least through September. People are encouraged to use mosquito repellent and long sleeves/pants to reduce mosquito bites and to avoid scheduling outdoor activity between dusk and dawn since they are the times at highest risk for EEE transmission. Some risk for mosquito-borne disease will continue until the first hard frost.
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