Human Case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Quincy
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today a human case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a 61 year old resident of Quincy. It is believed that this person contracted the disease in Plymouth County. The risk level to cities and towns are made based on likely location of exposure not necessarily place of residence. This does not change our risk level in Quincy, which remains at remote.EEE virus has caused 38 human infections in Massachusetts residents with fifteen deaths between 2000 and 2019. In addition to the case just identified in Quincy, there have been 3 other human EEE cases identified in Massachusetts this year, 1 from Hampden County and 2 from Plymouth County.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness. By taking a few, common sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
- Apply insect repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. 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. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. When risk is increased, consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- Drain standing water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or repair screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all your windows and doors.
While the Quincy Health Department continues to work closely with the MDPH, locally we are actively involved with Norfolk County Mosquito Control regarding the control of mosquitoes in Quincy. We have detailed information regarding EEE on our web-site, found by clicking here.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can also be found on the MDPH website by clicking here.