A man in his 60s from Southeastern Massachusetts is the fourth state resident to be infected with Eastern equine encephalitis and is currently hospitalized, health officials said Thursday.
The case, in a Plymouth County resident, caused the state Department of Public Health to raise the threat level for the mosquito-borne illness to high in the communities of Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell, and Plymouth, and health officials are recommending that outdoor evening events be cancelled until the first hard frost.
Health officials also raised the threat level for West Nile virus to high in six Western Massachusetts communities after the state’s 14th case of that illness was reported in a man from Hampden County in his 50s who was hospitalized, but then returned home.
Agawam, Easthampton, Hadley, Northampton, Southampton, and Westfield are now areas at high risk of West Nile virus, but the threat level does not mean that outdoor events need to be canceled.
Health officials also raised the threat level to high for West Nile virus in Lowell and Tewksbury after an investigation of a human case that had already been disclosed.
“Today’s announcement is yet another serious reminder that the threat of mosquito-borne illness is still with us and will remain so until we see the first hard overnight frost,” Dr. Al DeMaria, the state’s epidemiologist, said in a statement. “People need to continue to use insect repellent, to cover up exposed skin, and avoid being outdoors at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active.”