Frequently Asked Questions about the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis on Cape Cod

Last updated in August 2016
Author: Kumara Sidhartha,  MD, MPH – Emerald Physician Services, LLC (Member Cape Cod Healthcare)
Q: I saw in the news that a sample of mosquitos tested in Yarmouth showed that they carry the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. What does this mean to my health?
A: This news does not change anything new. The common-sense precautions for mosquito bite prevention recommended over the past years remain the same after this news.
 wearing long sleeved clothing
 use of mosquito repellents containing an EPA registered active ingredient
 use of clothing to reduce mosquito access to skin
 avoiding outdoor activity during dusk to dawn when there is in increase in this mosquito activity, and;
 repairing damaged window screens
Q: How many human cases of EEE have been reported in Barnstable County? How many are reported in MA?
A: No human cases of EEE has ever been reported in Barnstable County. No human cases has been reported in MA since 2014 up until now. One human case was reported in MA in 2013. ( Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2016)
Q: Should I be tested for EEE infection after any mosquito bite?
A: No testing is recommended following a mosquito bite UNLESS the bitten patient develops abrupt onset of high fever ( more than 101 degree F), headache, stiff neck, abrupt and severe body aches, sudden change in mental status / level of alertness , vomiting or diarrhea within 2 – 10 days of the bite.
Q: Should I see a doctor for a mosquito bite if I live in Yarmouth, MA or other towns on Cape Cod? I don’t have any other symptoms.
A: No need to see your physician unless the bite is followed by any the above symptoms in the setting of new fever.
Q: I just developed sudden fever that went up to 102 degree F and have severe body aches and headache. I was bitten by a mosquito during evening/night hours 2 days ago. What is my next course of action?
A: We recommend that you call your primary care doctor’s care team right away to seek medical assistance.
Q: I was bitten by a mosquito 2 weeks ago and now I have fever and severe body aches. Could this be EEE infection?
A: Unlikely to be EEE infection because it has been 2 weeks since the mosquito bite; however we recommend that you seek medical assistance to evaluate you to rule out other medical causes for your illness. Symptoms of human infection with EEE usually develops 2 – 10 days from the time of the mosquito bite.
Q: What can I do to prevent this problem in my neighborhood?
A: Removing standing water from the areas around your home
Additional resource:
http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/id/epidemiology/providers/public-health-cdc-arbovirus-info.html

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