Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Ontario County finds case of 'EEE' in a horse in Farmington

Mosquitoes are sorted at the Massachusetts Dept. of Health State Laboratory Institute according to species as only certain ones can carry and transmit the Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus in this 2007 Confirmed case of EEE found in Ohio horse
Anna Jefferson | 31 August, 2019, 16:52

Yesterday, state public health officials confirmed four cases of EEE in horses from Holliston, Medfield, Brookfield, and Granby, raising the risk for those communities from "high" to "critical".

Family members publically identified the woman as Laurie Sylvia, age 59, of Fairhaven.

State officials told the Globe that MA is now starting a new, intense cycle of EEE activity that will likely persist for two to three years.

Triple-E is rare, and seems to come in cycles, although researchers believe climate change may play a role in the increased rates of insect-borne illnesses in the state.

Officials are urging the public to avoid being outdoors at night during peak mosquito times, to use insect repellent, and to wear long-sleeved clothing, among other precautions.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday that the risk level for Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been raised to critical in four towns after horses in the communities tested positive for the potentially fatal virus.

The Globe reports that as of Thursday, 191 MA communities are designated at "moderate" risk and of those, 13 are at "high" risk and 28 are at "critical" risk. 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. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Still, officials repeated the warning for residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. When outdoors, people should use an EPA-approved insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, treat clothing with Permethrin and manage mosquitoes around their property. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by draining or discarding items that hold water. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

'Horses and other mammals are an important part of mosquito-borne disease surveillance because they are exposed by the same kinds of mosquitoes that can expose people, ' said State Epidemiologist Dr Catherine Brown. "There's no vaccine" for humans, only horses. According to the CDC, the horse, which was not vaccinated against the disease, was euthanized.

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