Second Mass. man infected with dangerous EEE virus

Cattail mosquitoes can transmit Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus to humans.
Cattail mosquitoes can transmit Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus to humans. Pat Wellenbach/Associated Press/File 2010/Associated Press

A second human case of the dangerous mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis has been confirmed in Massachusetts, and 10 more communities are now at critical risk, state health officials said Friday.

The man infected is between 19 and 30 and is from eastern Worcester County, officials said. Last weekend, the state Department of Public Health said a man over 60 from southern Plymouth County had become the first Massachusetts resident to test positive for the virus since 2013.

The 10 new communities at critical risk are Easton, Grafton, Hopkinton, Northbridge, Norton, Raynham, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Upton, and Westborough, bringing the total number of communities at critical risk to 19, officials said Friday.


EEE is a serious disease and is fatal for three out of 10 people who contract it, according to state health officials.

“The most intense level of EEE activity is still being seen in Bristol and Plymouth counties,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. “However, in active EEE years, the virus may move outside of southeastern Massachusetts.”

Officials found EEE in a goat in Norton, raising the town’s risk level to critical, the town said in an alert Friday.

Officials are advising residents to wear mosquito repellent and those in high- and critical-risk communities to stay indoors from dusk to dawn, the peak mosquito hours. Wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks is also recommended.

To protect animals and mosquito-proof homes, officials advise residents to drain standing water and install or repair screens.

Last week, the state Department of Public Health and Department of Agricultural Resources conducted the first round of aerial spraying to reduce the mosquito population. A second round is expected to occur late next week, officials said.

Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.