SHIRLEY — Chief Thomas Goulden and the Shirley Police Department encourage residents to be vigilant this summer while outside to avoid contracting mosquito transmitted diseases.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, which become infected when they feed on birds with the disease. The mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals. Residents are most at risk from June through September.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, as of July 27, categories Shirley’s risk for both West Nile Virus and EEE as remote.
“These diseases can be extremely dangerous,” Chief Goulden said. “We strongly urge residents to take safety precautions while outside enjoying the summer weather.”
Those with weak immune systems, like the elderly and young children, are at the greatest risk of developing severe symptoms. To date, no specific treatment for either West Nile Virus or EEE exists. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health states that supportive treatment should be directed at the signs of illness, and focused on reducing the severity of the diseases.
The CDC outlines several procedures that residents should follow to prevent contracting EEE and West Nile Virus.
Use insect repellent: When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing.
Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours: Make sure to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
Wear protective clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
Install and repair screens: Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs near you: Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, pool covers, gutters, pet water dishes, birdbaths and tires on a regular basis. Empty children’s wading pools and store on their side after use.