Gov. Baker, DPH Commissioner talk EEE in Lakeville

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker speaks on EEE in Lakeville

LAKEVILLE, Mass. — Governor Charlie Baker came to Lakeville, which is a critical risk area for EEE, to emphasize the need for residents to take measure to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Nearly half the state is under threat from EEE.

Related: Towns piling up anti-mosquito precautions amid panic over EEE cases

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Gov. Baker met with mosquito control districts to get a sense of how they are conducting spraying on the ground. He says the state will fund areas that need money and reimburse others for spraying that needs to be done.

Baker and Dr. Monica Bharel – the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health – say aerial spraying in high-risk areas will continue to happen overnight until the early morning hours.

"The virus infects our central nervous system and can cause encephalitis," Dr. Bharel said of EEE. "And unfortunately, up to half of the patients infected do die and a great majority are left with neurological defects."

The pesticide is not considered harmful to people.

"These are well tested and there is no evidence of human health impacts from these sprays," Dr. Bharel said.

That is in an effort to reduce overall mosquito populations, but both say the public must be on guard and take measure to protect themselves.

Those measures include:

  • Apply insect repellent with DEET
  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants
  • And mosquito-proof your home by fixing screens and removing any standing water from the outside

"We appreciate that in critical and high-risk communities many evening activities may have to be rescheduled or moved indoors," Gov. Baker said. "These protective measures are necessary and should continue."

"The risk for mosquito bites continues until the first freeze, so one of our most important messages for the public is that September continues to be a time when you need to continue these precautions," added Dr. Bharel.

Dr. Bharel says that, since 1938, only 108 cases of EEE have been reported. But when someone gets EEE it can be deadly, a reminder to all to keep on guard until the first frost.