TOWNSEND — Chief James Sartell reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has elevated the Town’s risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) to low after the virus was found in mosquitoes collected from Townsend.
At this time, there have been no reported cases of EEE in Townsend.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE is a rare but serious infection. EEE causes very few human cases each year, but can be fatal. The risk of infection is highest among individuals under the age of 15 and over the age of 50.
The Townsend Board of Health is working in close collaboration with DPH.
The Townsend Board of Health strongly urges members of the community to adhere to the following safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. Consider cancelling or rescheduling planned outdoor evening events and activities. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. 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 repellent.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites: Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply insect repellent if you do go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus 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 percent 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 directly to your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- 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 bird baths frequently.
- Install or repair window and door screens: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website here.