Mosquito-spraying planned in Sudbury after 5-year-old tests positive for EEE

SUDBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - Sudbury officials are taking extra precautions against Eastern equine encephalitis as a 5-year-old girl remains in critical condition after testing positive for the virus.

Crews will use mounted and backpack sprayers to target school grounds, parks and fields throughout the town over the course of this week, officials said. All Sudbury streets will be sprayed by Tuesday evening.

The young girl, who is being treated at an area hospital, is the latest person in Massachusetts to contract the mosquito-borne illness.

There have been seven confirmed cases in the Bay State this year, including a 59-year-old woman who died last month.

“Up to 50 percent of cases we do see fatalities,” said Dr. Catherine Brown, of the Department of Public Health. “What I really prefer people to focus on is not the symptoms but the prevention in the first place.”

EEE is a rare but serious virus that can lead to brain infections and other neurological problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thirty-six communities in Massachusetts are at critical risk for the virus, while several others are at high or moderate risk.

The public is encouraged to use bug spray, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay inside from dusk to dawn to reduce their personal risk.

“It is scary its serious illness and what we want people to know is that they have some control,” Sudbury Health Director Bill Murphy said.

Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren are pressuring federal health officials about research efforts to stop the spread of EEE.

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