The northeast has been seeing a greater than normal rate of mosquito-borne disease this year, as one Kingston man was found to be infected with two seperate mosquito-borne diseases less than a week ago, and now a Plymouth man has been diagnosed with eastern equine encephalitis. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that the recent EEE case is the first to be recorded in the state since 2013. EEE is one of many diseases that is spread to humans via mosquito bites, but EEE is one of the worst mosquito-borne diseases that a person can get. The disease can cause people to develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, weakness, joint pain and muscle aches. EEE can be transmitted to any age group, and it can cause a serious nervous system infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis.
According to Phil Alexakos, the chief operating officer of the Manchester Health Department, the recent EEE case in Massachusetts should concern residents, but since Plymouth is located far from other major metropolitan areas is Massachusetts, there is no need to panic. For example, mosquito traps in Manchester have not turned up one single EEE-infected mosquito. Luckily, the state arbovirus surveillance program has not turned up any west Nile-infected mosquitoes in Manchester either. Last year, west Nile was a greater threat than it is this year, as last year saw state officials initiate a mosquito spraying program to reduce west Nile-infected mosquitoes.
EEE was first identified in New Hampshire during 2004, and while no EEE-infected mosquitoes have been found in New Hampshire this summer, last year six batches of mosquitoes were found to be infected with the virus in the state. These EEE-infected mosquitoes were the first to be found in New Hampshire since 2015. 2014 saw three people in New Hampshire contract EEE, two of whom died in response to the disease.
Do you believe that the rate of mosquito-borne diseases will climb in the northeast in the coming years?