Triple E Continues to Threaten Southeastern Massachusetts


EEE has been detected in towns close to Hingham, including Barnstable and Plymouth. Massachusetts Dept. of Health

Cam Cyr, Contributing Writer

Although the mosquito transmitted virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Triple E) is considered to be very rare, there has been an increase in the number of cases in Southeast Massachusetts over the past few weeks. This season alone, two people have died from Triple E in Massachusetts. 

Around one third of those infected with the mosquito-borne virus die, and even patients who survive may experience brain damage and permanent personality changes. Although Triple E is not curable, the symptoms can be treated as long as the illness does not spread to the brain. 

A majority of these cases have been found in Massachusetts, and its prevalence across the region threatens fall season sports games, especially those taking place in the evening. Since people in Massachusetts are at high risk, some schools have decided to reschedule games to earlier in the day.

Although some believe that wearing any kind of bug spray will shield from Triple E, only brands containing DEET (N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) or lemon-eucalyptus guarantee protection. In order to further protect from Triple E, the CDC strongly recommends wearing long sleeve shirts and sweatpants when outside.

According to Hingham High School health teacher Karen Beatty, “ some symptoms include seizures, brain trauma, sephilitis, confusion, coma, and flu like symptoms.” Outside of school, Beatty plays pickleball around seven, yet has now to take precautions against Triple E by rescheduling her games to earlier times. 

Hingham Cross Country athlete Jake Monti, who typically runs at 7:00 P.M. on the weekends, has also been forced to take precautions against the virus and adjust his running schedule. He states, “I have recently ran around four at night on the weekends, but sometimes my schedule is busy, so I have to run at seven. Either way, I always put on bug spray and more protective clothing.”

As this virus continues to infect Massachusetts citizens, the Massachusetts Department of Health advises that citizens take precautions against the life-threatening virus. While the CDC is still searching to take more preventative measures against the spread of Triple E, Massachusetts residents will have to continue to be cautious throughout the rest of the fall.