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The mosquito-borne disease known as Eastern Equine Encephalitis is particularly deadly, as around 30 percent of all those who contract the disease end up dying as a result. EEE is a historically rare disease in the United States, but last year an unprecedented number of people contracted the disease within the state of Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 12 people contracted EEE in Massachusetts last year, three of whom died as a result. Even after state officials ramped up aerial mosquito spraying operations in response to growing EEE cases during 2019, individuals continued to become infected in the state. In recognition of the failed effort to curb the emergence of EEE-infected mosquitoes in Massachusetts last year, Governor Charlie Baker has introduced a new legislation that would allow for more aggressive mosquito control measures to take place in the state.

An Act to Mitigate Arbovirus in the Commonwealth is the name of the newly introduced bill being championed by the Massachusetts governor. The term “arbovirus” is an acronym for “arthropod-borne viruses,” and arboviruses that humans can contract in Massachusetts include the West Nile virus and EEE, as well as viruses that are biologically transmitted by other arthropods such as the powassan virus spread by ticks. If the new bill passes, it will allow public health officials in Massachusetts to coordinate proactive mosquito control operations on a statewide level. The bill specifically authorizes officials to carry out mosquito control programs in areas of the state that are not currently designated as treatment zones. These areas include cities and towns that do not belong to a specific district, and are therefore lacking in mosquito control operations. The new bill would ultimately allow authorities to coordinate more efficient and comprehensive mosquito control programs throughout Massachusetts. The bill also states that mosquito control programs can only be carried out in areas where there exists an elevated mosquito-borne disease threat to the local population.

Do you favor the new mosquito control bill that has recently been introduced by the Massachusetts governor?