Eastern Equine Encephalitis can kill you. It is a rare but often deadly disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Most of the mosquitoes in our area that are carriers of the disease will impact the bird population but some can transmit Triple E or EEE to humans as well.

The chances of contracting EEE are slim, but as long as there is any chance at all we humans need to take precautions. Health officials say conditions in our little corner of the world are optimal for breeding the type of mosquito that can carry Triple E. There have been four confirmed human cases of EEE in Massachusets this year.

The Mitchell Administration recently announced a dawn-to-dusk curfew at city parks, playgrounds, ballfields, and schoolyards. That is when the mosquitoes are most apt to threaten humans. The curfew will be reassessed on or about September 13 and will be extended or discontinued based upon the findings of the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project and others who monitor the activities of mosquitoes.

Teamsters Local 59/Facebook
Teamsters Local 59/Facebook

When the curfew was first announced, I admit that I, like many, chuckled, thinking that perhaps it was a bit of overkill. The death on Sunday of 50-year-old Laurie Sylvia of Fairhaven, believed to be from EEE, proves that this thing is deadly serious and that the curfew should be taken very seriously.

Targeted mosquito spraying is planned again for this week. All of this is not intended to panic people but to enlighten them about a very serious problem.

Folks should dress accordingly when heading outdoors before sunrise and after sunset. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and use bug spray with DEET. Limit your outdoor time during high-risk times of the day and stay out of the woods.

The mosquitoes will be with us until the first hard frost, which is a month or more away. Be smart and don't put yourself or your family at risk in the meantime. Those pesky mosquitoes can kill you. Pay attention to advisories and adhere to the curfew. It could save your life.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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