Seven cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne disease that is deadly to humans and animals, have been confirmed since the outbreak began this summer in western Massachusetts. While Medford and Somerville are at low risk for the disease, Grafton, where Tufts & # 39; Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is located, is one of 36 communities in Massachusetts with "critical" risk of the disease.
The latest case, according to the Boston Globe, met a middle-aged man in Bristol, Mass. The second human case of EEE this year was reported in Massachusetts in Grafton in August. In addition, there have been two cases of EEE in horses this year, according to Boston 25 News.
On the Grafton campus, the administration has taken a number of measures to raise awareness of the disease and take precautions against it. In addition, the campus has been sprayed to fight mosquitoes at least twice recently, according to Joseph McManus, the executive associate dean at Cummings School.
In addition to these air sprays made by the state government, the Grafton campus itself has taken measures to combat the threat of mosquitoes. According to Cummings student Alexandra Fielding, the university has been consistent in its communication about prevention and the risk of EEE for students, from the day the first case was reported in Grafton in August until now.
The school has bought mosquito repellent, made it available to students and moved an evening event indoors due to increased threat of the disease later in the day, according to Barbara Berman, assistant dean for student affairs at Cummings School.
members take common precautions, such as wearing long pants and long sleeves, using insect repellent when outdoors and trying to stay indoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, "Berman said in an interview with Daily.
Tufts has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Town of Grafton Board of Health during this outbreak and followed their guidance to protect ect members of the school, according to Rene Fielding, director of emergency management at Tufts.
"In this case, we have sent messages to the community to raise awareness, provide information on prevention and inform people about the state's injection," Sa Fielding told the Daily. "The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our local health boards are well-known for proactively providing information and guidance to their constituents, including Tufts University. "
Cummings School has taken precautionary measures against the disease with the help of local and state agencies. said McManus, Professor Sam Telford, whose focus is infectious disease and global health, has worked closely with the school to take proactive measures against the spread of EEE.
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As of last week, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has sprayed several counties west of Boston with aircraft to fight mosquitoes, according to the state website.
"The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will perform aerial spraying in specific areas of Middlesex, Norfolk and Worcester counties beginning on the evening of Tuesday, September 10 and continuing for several evenings," according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.