Mosquitoes infected with dangerous viruses found in more Mass. towns
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in Easton and Foxborough, and mosquitoes with Eastern equine encephalitis have been found in Halifax, Kingston and Raynham.
The latest test results, announced Thursday, raise the totals for this year to 10 communities with West Nile- and six with EEE-infected bugs.
The state Department of Public Health said that West Nile Virus was found in mosquitoes in three sample pools in Easton and one in Foxborough, and EEE was found in mosquitoes in single sample pools in Halifax, Kingston and Raynham.
Health officials say they will step up their mosquito surveillance and control activities in those areas.
There have been no human cases of EEE or West Nile identified this year.
Since 2004, EEE has infected 13 people in Massachusetts and killed six. Eight of those EEE cases have been in Plymouth and Bristol counties.
EEE can produce symptoms ranging from high fever and stiff neck to swelling of the brain. It is fatal in 30 to 50 percent of human cases; children and the elderly face the greatest risk. West Nile is more prevalent and generally less deadly, with symptoms ranging from those like the flu to brain swelling.
EEE and West Nile are usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
More information is available on the DPH website, www.mass.gov/dph/wnv/wnv1.htm. Information about EEE and West Nile virus is also available by calling the DPH recorded information line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7698).
Tom Benner of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at email@example.com.