AMHERST, Mass. - The Massachusetts Department of Health says
the Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, virus has been found in
mosquitoes collected the area. West Nile was found in nearby Northampton, Mass.
The Amherst discovery is the first of the EEE virus confirmed in
mosquitoes this year, but no human cases of either of the two
mosquito-borne viruses have been reported.
Eastern equine encephalitis is
a rare but serious illness caused by the EEE virus. It can spread to humans
through infected mosquitoes. Most at risk of developing EEE are people under 15
or over 50, and those with weak immune systems. Berkshire County Mosquito
Control Superintendent Chris Horton says, despite the findings, there is
no reason residents should panic.
"We've found two infected mosquitoes, so this is by far
nothing to panic about. By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can
help to protect themselves and their loved ones. Simple steps like wearing
long-sleeved clothing and bug repellent when out in mosquito-prone areas during
peak mosquito times, which is between dusk and dawn."
If you have any questions about Eastern equine virus or the West Nile
virus found in Massachusetts mosquitoes, call the Amherst Public Health
Nurse at 413-259-3077 or the State Health Department at 413-587-1214.
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