Each summer, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) tests mosquitoes to see if they are carrying West Nile Virus (WNV) or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”). According to DPH, these viruses “can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis.”
DPH posts the testing on a web page that assigns a risk category (ranging from “Low” to “Critical”) to the risk posed by each virus in each community in the state.
In Newton, the risk for EEE hasn’t risen above “Low” in recent years. However, WNV risk in Newton is more variable, and reached the “High” level by late summer in 2016 and 2018. As the risk level increases, the set of recommended prevention steps changes.