EEE virus confirmed in Massachusetts

EEE was confirmed by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in a mosquito sample collected July 1 in the town of Orange in Franklin County, officials said Friday.

In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City. Eastern equine encephalitis, a rare and deadly mosquito-borne illness, saw a small but worrisome increase in the summer of 2019.
In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City. Eastern equine encephalitis, a rare and deadly mosquito-borne illness, saw a small but worrisome increase in the summer of 2019. –Rick Bowmer / AP, File

BOSTON (AP) — The eastern equine encephalitis virus has been discovered in mosquitoes for the first time this year in Massachusetts, health officials said.

EEE was confirmed by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in a mosquito sample collected July 1 in the town of Orange in Franklin County, officials said Friday. No human or animal cases of EEE have been detected so far this year, officials said.

The mosquito-borne disease is a rare but a potentially deadly disease. There were 12 human cases in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths. There were also nine cases in domestic animals.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said the state has been preparing for a resurgence of EEE. Surveillance will help health officials determine how quickly the virus might emerge this year.

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