West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that occur in Massachusetts and can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis.
WNV is a mosquito-carried virus that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. It was first identified in the United States in 1999.
EEE is a very rare disease. Since the virus was first identified in Massachusetts in 1938, just over 110 cases have occurred. The majority of cases typically have been from Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties. However, in an active year human cases can occur throughout the state.
Outbreaks of EEE usually occur in Massachusetts every 10-20 years. These outbreaks will typically last two to three years. The most recent outbreak of EEE in Massachusetts began in 2019 and included twelve cases with six fatalities.
Routine mosquito testing began in June and will continue through October. The Department of Public Health in partnership with Local Mosquito Control Projects is conducting comprehensive surveillance activities.
Residents of Mansfield can contact the Bristol County Mosquito Control directly to request residential spraying for the mosquito season. You may call the office at 508-823-5253 between the hours of 8am-2pm. Please be patient as the line will be very busy. You may fax a request to 508-828-1868 or email a request to RequestBristolMCP@comcast.net. Please include your last name, full address including zip code with your request.
As several communities in Southeastern Massachusetts are at elevated risk for EEE and this season’s first human case has been confirmed, the Commonwealth is acting to protect the public by conducting aerial spray operations to reduce the population of mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus. At this point, Mansfield has not been identified as a community where aerial spraying will occur. For a FAQ regarding mosquito control and spraying, please visit the DPH website here.
Since the virus that causes WNV and EEE is spread by mosquitoes, here are some things you can do to reduce your chances of being bitten:
- Schedule outdoor events to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- When you are outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and socks. This may be difficult to do when the weather is hot, but it will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 (3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid) or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-Menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions given on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin. More information on choosing and using repellents safely is included in the MDPH Mosquito Repellents fact sheet. If you can’t go online, contact the MDPH at (617) 983-6800 for a hard copy.
- Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing any holes in your screens and making sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.
- Remove areas of standing water around your home. Here are some suggestions:
- Look around outside your house for containers and other things that might collect water and turn them over, regularly empty them, or dispose of them.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors so that water can drain out.
- Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths every few days; aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated; remove standing water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
For information directly related to mosquito activity in Mansfield, please contact the Mansfield Health Department at 508-261-7366 or Health@Mansfieldma.com.