Town 0f Agawam
36 Main Street, Agawam, Massachusetts 01001-1837
Tel: 413-786-0400 ext. 8207 Fax: 413-726-9723
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus Confirmed in Human from Nearby Municipality
DATE: September 27, 2019 CONTACT: Kathleen E. Auer RS, CHO, Health Agent
TOWN: Agawam, MA TELEPHONE: 413-726-9721
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today that EEE virus has been detected in a human in a municipality near Agawam, Massachusetts. The risk level for exposure in Agawam has been raised to “High.”
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness.
By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Avoid outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of 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 - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
While the Agawam Health Department continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally we are actively undertaking targeted education programs by the distribution of fact sheets on EEE and on reducing exposure to mosquitoes. The Agawam Public Schools and other organizations are making preparations to move evening activities to the daylight hours when the insects are less active. The high level of risk will remain until the first hard frost.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.