SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WHSM) -- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Friday the first eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) positive detected sample this year.

The confirmation came from the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in a mosquito sample collected on July 1 in the community of Orange in Franklin County.

Officials did say there were no human or animal cases of EEE that have been detected so far this year, but the sample does increase the level of EEE to moderate in the area of Orange and Athol.

“We have been preparing for EEE activity this year. It is early in the year for the first evidence of EEE, therefore, continued mosquito surveillance over the next several weeks will help us understand more about how quickly the virus might emerge this year," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.

This comes after 12 human cases of EEE were reported in Massachusetts during 2019, including six deaths with nine cases also confirmed in domestic animals.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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