METROWEST- Multiple communities in the Metrowest area including Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough & Grafton are on high alert after the deadly EEE virus has been discovered. While only about 4-5% of human EEEV infections result in EEE, the most concerning fact about the rare disease is that there is no cure - nor are there any immunizations to serve as protection.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, commonly known as EEE, is carried by mosquitos and can cause serious neurological damage or death within 2-10 days of contraction. With a wide range of symptoms from fever to headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, or coma, the illness can last for 1-2 weeks and cause serious damage to the central nervous system. According to the CDC website, "approximately one third of all people with EEE die from the disease. Of those who recover, many are left with disabling and progressive mental and physical sequelae, which can range from minimal brain dysfunction to severe intellectual impairment, personality disorders, seizures, paralysis, and cranial nerve dysfunction. Many patients with severe sequelae die within a few years."
The CDC website confirms that Massachusetts has the second highest number of recorded cases of the EEE virus in the country from 2009-2018 (10 cases), Florida being the highest number of recorded cases at 13. While most of Marlborough is listed as having a high level risk of EEE, parts of the city are currently listed as critical. The Mass.Gov website provided the following map to show highest risk elevated areas and has increased spraying for mosquitos in affected areas:
To learn when and where spraying for mosquitos will occur in your area, check on the Central Mass Mosquito Project website: https://www.cmmcp.org/
How can you protect yourself and loved ones from EEE & West Nile Virus? Several local police departments, including Northborough and Southborough, have urged that all residents stay indoors from dusk until dawn, which are peak mosquito hours. The CDC confirms that "all residents of and visitors to areas where EEEV activity has been identified are at risk of infection. People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in endemic areas are at increased risk of infection." While being indoors during peak hours is your safest bet, if it is absolutely necessary to go outside be sure to cover up with long sleeves, pants, socks & shoes and use an insect repellent making sure that it contains DEET. To protect your home, install and repair tightly-fitting screens on patios, windows and doors.
For more information, you can also visit the Mass.gov website and contact your local representative to learn how your specific town is being affected: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mosquito-control-projects-and-districts