Base officials take steps to limit EEE exposure
By 66th Medical Squadron
/ Published September 08, 2019
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE or Triple E, is increasing in Massachusetts. EEE mosquitos have been identified in the neighboring towns of Bedford and Burlington.
Hanscom Air Force Base officials received the announcement that the Town of Bedford, as a means of preventing mosquito bites from potentially infected mosquitoes, is advising residents to avoid being outdoors during peak biting times. To ensure the safety of the children and community members, the Town of Bedford has canceled outdoor activities and the use of outdoor recreational facilities between dusk and dawn until further notice.
The Hanscom Public Health Office has an established surveillance plan to evaluate medically important pests and vector-borne diseases on the installation. At this time, there are no positive results of EEE, West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, Alphavirus and/or Flavivirus. However, due to the risk of EEE in the surrounding areas, base officials will close on-base outdoor recreation areas, picnic areas, outdoor sports facilities and playgrounds from dusk to dawn until further notice. Additionally, personnel on base are strongly advised to take precautions for themselves and their children to reduce the chances of being bitten.
To reduce the chances of being bitten, the following is highly recommended:
- Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk to dawn when possible. Especially avoid areas that are wooded or have standing water.
- Use an EPA registered repellent with one of these active ingredients:
Picaridin (KBR 3023)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
Para-menthane-diol (PMD) *
* Do not use on children under 3 years old.
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin when outdoors.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants during peak times for mosquito activity (dusk to dawn).
- Remove areas of standing water around your home.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair any holes in your screens.
What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE?
EEE is a very rare but serious disease by a virus spread through an infected mosquito. Fewer than 100 cases have occurred since 1938 when it was originally identified in Massachusetts. Human EEE infections are relatively rare but, when they occur, cause very serious effects and/or fatalities. There is no known vaccine or cure. Caution and prevention are the only safeguards.
Sign and Symptoms
- Fever (103F- 106F)
- Stiff neck
- Lack of energy
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
For further information, visit Center for Disease Control and Prevention or http://www.mosquitoresults.com/.
Hanscom public health officials will continue to work with local and state authorities and provide updates as necessary.