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Easton's risk level for EEE raised to CRITICAL

8/16/19: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus has been detected in a goat in Norton, Massachusetts.  In accordance with the MDPH’s Arbovirus Surveillance and Response Plan, Easton’s risk level has been changed to critical.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), EEE is a rare but serious illness that causes brain infections (encephalitis) and is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.

Given the current situation, the Easton Board of Health has determined that the imminent high risk to the public health warrants action to protect the people of Easton.  Accordingly, the Board of Health has deemed it necessary to impose a restriction on all outdoor activities occurring between dusk and dawn.

 The Easton Board of Health strongly recommends taking precautions to protect yourself and loved ones.

 Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
  • Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.  Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin. 

 Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently. 
  • Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

While the Easton Board of Health continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally we are actively undertaking efforts to make information available to the public through various outlets.  We are working to make sure local groups who sponsor or conduct activities outdoors, have the above information.  

Fact sheets on EEE and on reducing exposure and risk are available on the Town website and at the Board of Health office, 136 Elm Street, Easton, MA 02356.

 Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website.