GRAFTON, Mass. – With mosquitoes testing positive for eastern equine encephalitis in southeastern Massachusetts, the Grafton Health Department is issuing a warning to residents that it is once again time to protect themselves against mosquito-borne viruses.
Eastern equine encephalitis, commonly referred to as EEE, was found in mosquitoes sampled from the town of Easton last week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced. DPH epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria characterized the positive finding as early for the season.
Also a concern is West Nile virus, which is most commonly found in September. Last year, mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and EEE were found in Auburn, Shrewsbury and Westborough, and a woman in Worcester County was diagnosed with West Nile.
The Grafton Health Department issued an alert to residents this week warning them to take precautions when outdoors. Preventive measures include:
- Applying repellents that contain DEET on those for whom it is safe. Read product labels carefully for restrictions;
- Whenever possible, avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk;
- Rid your surroundings of any standing water (tires, pools, barrels, etc.);
- Use mosquito nets on baby carriages;
- Make sure that all your screens are in good repair and that all openings to the outside are equipped with screens or kept closed;
- Wear long sleeves and pants (light colors are better than dark colors or black);
- Do not allow standing water to remain in small pools and outdoor containers.