Third human case of EEE confirmed in western Mass.

Third human case of EEE confirmed in western Mass.

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mass. — A third case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in a person from Franklin County, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The risk level in two communities in Franklin County has been raised to critical as a result.

The first Mass. victim of EEE in 2019 was a man in his 60s from the South Shore, who still remains in a coma. The second was a person in Grafton, Massachusetts.

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In addition, one horse from Mendon and one horse from Uxbridge have also tested positive for the EEE virus, raising the risk level to critical in two additional communities in Worcester County.

This is the third case of EEE in Massachusetts since 2013. The virus has been found in 164 mosquito samples this year, half of which are from mosquitoes capable of spreading EEE to people.

State health officials say the most intense levels of EEE are still in Plymouth and Bristol counties. Multiple towns in Worcester and Middlesex counties are also considered to be at critical or high risk.

The deadly EEE virus carried by mosquitoes is now not only a health concern, but for some, a financial concern.

The Marshfield Fair is a strong Marshfield tradition spanning 152 years, but for some vendors their numbers this year have been down to nearly half.

Experts say the disease, which is carried by mosquitoes, attacks the nervous system and has a 40% mortality rate. And while many towns are spraying to reduce the mosquito population, it's not a cure-all.

West Nile Virus - another dangerous mosquito-borne disease - was discovered in a sample in Cambridge.

State health experts say, whether you live in or near one of the impacted communities, the key is to stay indoors around dusk and dawn, and, if you do plan to be out, make sure you have long clothes and/or repellant.