EEE Outbreak: Experts Detect Virus In Massachusetts Mosquitoes

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The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage many parts of the world, but that does not mean other illnesses are not on the rise. Apparently, other viral infections are also slowly emerging as seasons change. And the latest viral infection to make headlines is EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

State officials in Massachusetts recently confirmed that they detected the EEE virus in sample mosquitoes taken from two communities in the state. This could signal the start of another EEE outbreak this year, according to Boson.com.

The state’s Department of Public Health announced late last week that experts were able to identify EEE in mosquito samples obtained from the town of Orange on July 1. Then, on Monday, the department issued a follow-up statement, saying that they were also able to detect the EEE virus in samples collected in Wendell.

“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year. It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE, therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, said in a statement.

“[The] second early finding reinforces our concern about EEE activity this season. We urge all Massachusetts residents to be aware of the risks associated with mosquito bites and to take precautions against being bitten,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown said in the follow-up report.

EEE virus is the causative agent of a rare case of brain infection. It is transmitted through certain species of mosquitoes and the onset of illness ranges from four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Infection could lead to neurologic diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis. Around 30 percent of people who get infected die from the disease while survivors suffer ongoing neurologic problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though no human or animal cases of EEE infection have been detected so far this season, officials are still on high alert since there is moderate risk of people catching the virus in Orange, Wendell, New Salem and Athol.

mosquito The mosquito causes more world-wide deaths than any other organism. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

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