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According to the health commissioner, Mass. Is at a "critical moment" for the EEA

Although the schedule has shifted in September and daytime temperatures are a little cooler and people are no longer afraid of mosquitoes, Eastern equine encephalitis remains a "serious concern" in Massachusetts, the Commissioner said Wednesday. to Public Health, Monica Bharel.

"The mosquito season is not over yet," Bharel told the Public Health Council on Wednesday. "It's September, the schools have started and the autumn sports have started. People do not think about mosquitoes, but it's a critical moment to protect yourself. We invite everyone to take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites. It's the best protection we have.

The virus transmitted by EEE mosquitoes has been confirmed in seven people in Massachusetts this year, including a Bristol County woman who died as a result of the disease. Cases have also been confirmed in eight horses and one goat.

Risks have been reported in more than half of the 351 communities in the state: 36 are at high risk of EEE, 42 at high risk and 115 at moderate risk, according to the DPH.

DPH and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources announced on Tuesday that they plan to spray mosquitoes in parts of Norfolk, Middlesex and Worcester counties.

"When weather conditions, temperature and equipment permit, plans for future aerial spraying will include critical and high-risk communities in Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Plymouth counties," he said. Bharel.

The supplementary budget that Governor Charlie Baker tabled on Friday included $ 3.5 million for spraying to reduce the risk of EEE. This Bill (H 4067) was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration on Monday.

"We put $ 3.5 million in the budget, it will probably increase," said Tuesday Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan, on the Advisory Board of Local Government.

Heffernan said that the Executive Board of Energy and Environmental Affairs "has brought back planes to do more spraying".

"We therefore sincerely applaud DPH's and EEE's aggressive approach to EEE, even at the end of this season," he said.

To prevent mosquito bites, Bharel advised people to use an insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and stay indoors between dusk and dawn.

"We all know that it's harder to change personal behaviors," Bharel said. "This requires repetitive reminders for all of us."

Colin A. Young contributed to the reports.

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