BOSTON (WBSM) — The first positive mosquito samples for Eastern equine encephalitis of the 2024 season have been detected in Massachusetts.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, EEE was confirmed in mosquito samples collected on June 30 in Carver, which is in Plymouth County.

MassDPH said no human or animal cases of EEE have been detected so far this year.

With the positive sample, the risk level for EEE has been raised to moderate in Carver, Kingston, Middleboro, Plymouth, Plympton and Wareham.

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The announcement comes just one day after the Department of Public Health announced that West Nile Virus had been detected in two mosquito samples collected on June 25 in the city of Quincy in Norfolk County.

“The last EEE outbreak cycle in Massachusetts occurred in 2019-2020 and since then, there have been no human cases of EEE reported in the state,” said Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein, MD, PhD.

“Today’s finding alerts us to the presence of EEE in Massachusetts this year. Combined with yesterday’s announcement of West Nile virus in mosquitoes in Massachusetts, we are asking everyone to take the necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” Dr. Goldstein said. “We recommend that people use mosquito repellent when they are spending time outdoors so they can celebrate the July 4th holiday and enjoy the rest of the summer without being bitten.”

Thankfully, EEE cases in humans, which is rare but serious and potentially fatal, have been on the decline in recent years.

“There were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2019 with six deaths; in 2020, there were five human cases and one death,” MassDPH said. “There were no human cases of EEE in Massachusetts in 2021, 2022 or 2023.”

“EEE activity in Massachusetts tends to occur in outbreak cycles,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine M. Brown. “When EEE is found in mosquitoes like this at the start of the season, the risk may increase throughout the rest of the summer. We rely on our mosquito surveillance program to monitor for the presence of virus to let people know when and where the risk is occurring.”

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