BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is adding six more communities to its list of areas at high risk from the eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.
The DPH said it raised the EEE risk in Acushnet, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Taunton in Bristol and Plymouth counties.
On Wednesday, DPH announced Carver, Easton, Freetown, Lakeville, Middleboro, New Bedford, and Raynham – also in Bristol and Plymouth counties – were high-risk areas.
“We are using the mosquito surveillance data to continue to define the area at risk,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “As we receive more information, we will continue to update the areas of high risk as indicated by the data.”
Communities at moderate risk are Fall River, Foxborough, Mansfield, Plymouth, Sharon, Somerset, Swansea, and Wareham in Plymouth, Bristol and Norfolk counties.
EEE symptoms can range from a stiff neck, headache and lack of energy to dangerous complications like inflammation and swelling of the brain.
“DPH is working to ensure people are aware of these elevated risk levels and of all the tools that residents and communities can use to help reduce that risk,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown.
The DPH recommends that residents should make efforts to avoid mosquito bites, which can spread EEE, including using insect repellent, being aware of peak mosquito hours (dusk to dawn), wearing long sleeve shirts and pants when outside, drains standing water from around your home, repaid window screens and protect your animals from mosquitos.
No human or animal cases of EEE have been detected so far this year.
The state’s website includes information about mosquito-borne diseases and their prevention.