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Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Timothy Grenno and Whitman Board of Health Chairman Eric Joubert would like to provide residents with safety reminders after the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus was confirmed in mosquitoes tested in Whitman last week.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has confirmed that the EEE virus has been detected in mosquito samples collected in Whitman this year. As a result of the tests, the MDPH has announced that the current risk level for Whitman is high.
Aerial spraying for mosquitoes in Whitman was completed by the MDPH and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) over the weekend. MDPH and MDAR officials will monitor the area over the coming weeks and plan to conduct a second round of spraying.
"The Board of Health is monitoring the situation and will continue to keep the public updated," Chairman Joubert said. "We would also like to remind Whitman residents that there are health regulations in place regarding standing water in yards and unkempt yards which are common areas where mosquitoes breed."
Whitman's environmental regulations for mosquito reduction can be found here.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 or over 50 years of age are at the greatest risk for serious illness.
"Though scheduled outdoor activities are not affected by the results of the tests, taking preventative measures, especially the use of proper bug repellent, is a necessity for any outdoor activities, including sporting events," Chief Grenno said.
Chief Grenno and the Whitman Board of Health recommends the follow safety precautions offered by the MDPH to protect yourself and your loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in
Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website here.