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EEE General Updates for Massachusetts Residents

In late August, the State Department of Public Health in Massachusetts confirmed a human case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Other healthcare organizations have also confirmed a spike in human EEE cases. EEE is a mosquito-borne illness and although EEE is not commonly transmitted to people, it can be severe when it does happen. That is why it is critical to take precautionary steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Avoid nighttime outdoor activity

Mosquitos are most active during the nighttime hours. If you do not need to be outdoors after dusk or before dawn, avoid it.

Cover exposed skin

When you are outdoors, cover exposed skin whenever possible. Mosquitos are less likely to bite you if they have less access to exposed skin.
Choosing lighter-colored clothing can also help prevent mosquito bites. Deeper colors, such as black, blue, and red, stand out so they end up attracting bugs. 

Wear insect repellent 

Wear insect repellent whenever you are outdoors. Make sure your insect repellent is approved by the Centers for Disease Control against mosquitos. You’ll want to use a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, PMD, or IR3535. All of those insecticides are considered safe when used as directed. 
It is recommended to focus the repellent on thin-skinned areas of your body, as that is where mosquitos prefer to bite. This includes the ankles, feet, lower legs, and wrists. 

Protect your home

Mosquitos thrive in standing water. Remove any standing water from your yard and encourage your neighbors to take this step as well. This will reduce the number of mosquitos in your area.
You should also use windows with screens if you wish to open your windows, to avoid letting mosquitos into your home. 
It is important to take precautionary steps. Signs of EEE include flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, muscle aches, and fever. EEE can cause brain inflammation which can result in neurological damage and in some cases, death. 
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms after receiving a mosquito bite, locate a nearby medical provider for immediate treatment. While there is not a treatment for EEE directly, a medical provider can help diagnose and hopefully treat the symptoms of EEE.