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2 new cases of EEE include a 5-year-old girl, a woman



Two new cases of the rare but potentially lethal Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection have been identified, according to laboratory findings from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

A 5-year-old girl from southwestern Middlesex County and a woman in her 60s from Middlesex County in the East were diagnosed with EEE, officials said Friday.

The girl is being treated at a regional hospital in critical condition, officials said.

EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that can affect humans, horses and birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  PHOTO: Mosquito seen here. Joao Paulo Burini / Getty Images [19659007] A mosquito is observed here.

The disease is sporadic in Massachusetts, with seven people infected so far this year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Following the reporting of two new cases, the level of risk in the cities of Framingham, Marlborough, Northbrother and Sudbury has been increased to a critical level. The 5-year-old was infected by Sudbury, officials said.

The risk level in Berlin, Boylston, Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Weiland was raised to high.

A total of 36 communities in the state are at risk, 42 ​​are at high risk and 115 are at moderate risk for EEE, according to officials.

p. Monika Bharel, the commissioner for public health, said it was not uncommon to monitor cases of people with OEE in September.

"Therefore, we continue to urge the public to take seriously the threat that mosquitoes can pose and take steps not to be bitten," Bharel said in a statement.

  PHOTO: Executive Office of Health and Human Services The Massachusetts Office has released this map showing the levels of risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE). Massachusetts Department of Public Health
The Massachusetts Office of Public Health and Human Services has released this map showing the risk levels of Eastern equine equine encephalitis virus (EEE).

Health officials are urging residents in Massachusetts to use a mosquito repellent. People in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors at dusk until dawn to reduce their chance of being bugged.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources conducted aerial mosquito spraying in some cities last month to help reduce the risk. Spraying has since been halted because evening temperatures are too low to allow effective air application, officials said.

An EEE was detected this year in 400 mosquito samples, many of which are species capable of spreading the disease to humans.

The most recent outbreak in Massachusetts occurred from 2004 to 2006 and 2010 to 2012, with 22 EEE cases involving humans in the two periods.


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