Many southeastern Massachusetts communities have received a designation of “high risk” for exposure to the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. Several more have received a moderate risk designation. If you are living in Massachusetts, this is a mosquito control issue you can’t ignore.
What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus?
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) spreads to horses and humans through mosquitoes. It can result in two types of illness, systemic and encephalitic. Symptoms usually come on abruptly.
Systemic EEEV is characterized by chills, fever, joint and muscle pain, and a general feeling of being unwell. Encephalitic EEEV is characterized by fever, headache, restlessness, convulsions, coma, and other symptoms created by swelling of the brain. In adults, the encephalitis manifests after a few days of systemic illness.
The effects of EEEV can be devastating. The CDC has more information about the disease on its website.
What is My Risk Level?
Scientists have found the virus has in 164 samples from mosquitoes in or near the communities at risk. Half were from species that could spread the virus to people. However, there have not been any human or animal cases reported in Massachusetts this year. In the past two outbreaks, spanning from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2010 to 2012, twenty-two humans were infected. So the virus is rare, but the effects are severe and can be deadly.
If you live in one of the affected communities, you should avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito hours, wear clothing that can help prevent bites, and apply insect repellent. Also, dump standing water, and repair or replace screens on windows and doors.
If you are interested in more intensive mosquito control options, we can spray your yard for mosquitoes. We do organic spraying too! Find out more on our website, or give us a call at our West Roxbury, MA location at 617-327-5555 or our Norwood office at 781-762-7080. We are happy to help!