State confirms four new EEE cases in horses

EEE has been confirmed in 366 mosquito samples this year

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed four new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus in horses in Holliston, Medfield, Brookfield and Granby Thursday.

These four communities are now at critical risk for the virus, the DPH states.

There are now 28 Massachusetts communities at critical risk, 37 at high risk and 126 at moderate risk, the DPH said in a news release.

There have been four confirmed human cases of the virus: A woman over 50 years old of southern Bristol County, a man over 60 of northern Franklin County, a man between the ages of 19 to 30 of Worcester County, and a man over 60 of southern Plymouth County, the DPH said.

There have been seven confirmed cases in horses and one confirmed case in a Norton goat, according to the DPH. EEE has been confirmed in 366 mosquito samples this year.

“As we head into the Labor Day weekend and the month of September people should not forget to bring and use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent for any outdoor activities,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in the news release. “The peak time for transmission of mosquito-borne illness extends through September here in Massachusetts.”

The DPH recommends staying inside during peak mosquito hours, dusk to dawn. Environmental Protection Agency-approved bug spray ingredients include DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), and oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD) or IR3535). Do not use DEET products on infants under two months, and only use concentrations of 30% or less on older children, the DPH warns. Do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under three years old, it states.

In addition, the DPH suggests repairing screen doors and windows, and dumping any standing water.

Visit mosquitoresults.com for an updated map of current at-risk areas.