Southeastern MA: State health officials get proactive about EEE

It’s historically been a danger zone for mosquito-borne illnesses like Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Now state health officials are asking the help of specialists nationwide for how best to minimize the risk of contracting the virus in Southeastern Massachusetts.

It’s the result of an outcry from officials in the area following the EEE death of an elderly Raynham resident last September.

At the time, town officials complained that the state failed to act on repeated requests for aerial mosquito spraying last summer.

The state never took that step because certain triggers in its protocol for spraying, such as a heightened risk designation, had yet to occur.

Among the experts being called in are an entomologist and biologist from the CDC, a California ecologist and evolutionary biologist, and New York state research scientists.

Massachusetts health officials say the specialists were chosen because they can likely provide new perspectives on how the state monitors and controls mosquitos.

Last summer, mosquitoes carrying EEE were found in 20 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts.

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About Garo Hagopian

Garo Hagopian has been a member of the WATD family as a weekend news anchor since 2008, and has been a writer-producer-editor at WBZ in Boston since 1996.