- Public Health Department
- Mosquito & Tick-Borne Diseases
Mosquito & Tick-Borne Diseases
For more information on mosquito and tick-borne illnesses see below.
- Mosquito-Borne Diseases/ Prevention
- West Nile Virus
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
- Tick-Borne Diseases
Mosquito-Borne Diseases and How to Prevent Them
Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. They are spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no specific treatments for either virus, but steps can be taken to protect yourself from illness, including:
- Removing standing water from the areas around your home
- Repairing damaged window screens
- Scheduling outdoor activities to avoid the hours around dawn and dusk
- Using insect repellents
- Wearing long-sleeved clothing
More information can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by calling the Division of Public Health Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors - Use a repellent, according to the instructions on the product label, containing:
- DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
- Picaridin (KBR 3023)
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)]
DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
- Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites - Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or Repair Screens - Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
- Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas.
- Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.
- Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-carried virus that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. It was first identified in the United States in 1999.
West Nile Virus | West Nile Virus | CDC
West Nile Virus (WNV) | Mass.gov
EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis)
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus. It is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most cases occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Although rare, EEE is very serious. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis | Eastern Equine Encephalitis | CDC
EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) | Mass.gov
Ticks can carry harmful diseases. Ticks are bugs that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, or reptiles. Black-legged (deer) ticks and dog ticks are found throughout Massachusetts and may spread different disease-causing germs when they bite you. The most common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts are Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Other diseases that are more rare, but still occur, are Tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus. Tick-borne illnesses can be very severe and taking steps to avoid tick bites is important.
Please see the below links for specific disease information.
- Lyme disease
- Anaplasmosis (Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis - HGA)
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Borrelia miyamotoi
- Powassan Virus