Death of 2nd Belchertown Horse from Eastern Equine Encephalitis Also Cause for Concern in Surrounding Towns
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says there’s a 2nd case this year of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a Belchertown horse. Bill Barnett, Belchertown Town Clerk, says this horse also died. “That's pretty much all we really know now, that two horses died in our town and it's very, very serious situation.”
Belchertown remains on “critical” threat level for EEE. Nearby towns are also on alert. Just over the border in Amherst, the threat level was raised from “moderate” to “high”. The towns of Hadley and South Hadley have raised their alert to “moderate”.
Amherst Public Health Director Julie Federman says she's turning to southeastern Massachusetts and the north shore of Boston for examples of how to caution the public about EEE, and West Nile Virus, but not create panic. “This is new for us out her in western Massachusetts. So I'm interested in the messaging and the experience of those communities who have dealt with this for a long time.” She says last night’s decision to cancel a movie on the Amhesrt Common is not a sweeping policy for the rest of summer. She added, to avoid mosquito bites, when outside, people should wear clothes that cover the skin, use insect repellent, and around the house, drain areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed.