The 2014 arbovirus season is almost here. Based on feedback, the Arbovirus Surveillance and Response Plan has been updated; there are no significant changes from last year’s process for WNV or EEE. Below is a summary of some important reminders.

MDPH has collected contact information for Arbovirus Coordinators in each community. These people are our primary points of contact during the season. It is the responsibility of the designated Coordinators to share information during the season with other officers and agencies in their community who need to be kept informed.

Arbovirus Contacts MUST be part of the Arbovirus Group on the HHAN. If you need access to the HHAN or need to be assigned to this group, please email alert.network@state.ma.us. All others should log on and check that their Personal Profile information is accurate to ensure that they will receive notifications.

MDPH will begin mosquito testing in mid-June (likely June 16).

Initial positive findings in mosquitoes (WNV and EEE) from a given town will be reported to the Arbovirus Coordinator by telephone. Coordinators in adjacent towns will be notified via a moderate level HHAN alert. After the initial positives, results will be incorporated into a single moderate level HHAN alert which will include all the positive results for that day. The first time EEE is found in mammal-biting mosquitoes will also be communicated by phone. Notification about animal and human cases will always occur by phone to the Coordinator in the community of residence. Coordinators in surrounding communities will be notified in a HHAN alert.

The weekly summary report with mosquito, animal and human testing results and risk assessment maps will be produced weekly and distributed to Arbovirus Coordinators each Monday, or Tuesday on holiday weeks.

Routine risk level changes (for risk levels up to moderate) will be done on Mondays and Thursdays. This allows for more thorough analysis of the data and provides the opportunity to include local information from the mosquito control project. Indications that risk has moved from a moderate to high, or from high to critical will be done immediately and will not be delayed.

Two separate maps, one for WNV and one for EEE, will be used this summer. Start of season maps will be available soon.

Due to the inherent time delay in identification of animal and human cases of WNV and EEE, we will be providing positive preliminary laboratory results from clinically compatible patients to providers, local boards of health in the town of residence and the servicing mosquito control projects on a routine basis. These will not be considered cases until confirmatory testing verifies the result and they will not be announced publicly at that time. However, sharing this information provides more time for planning and coordination of response.

The recommended evening closing times calendar for high and critical EEE risk levels has been updated for 2014.

MDPH will continue to post positive findings daily on the public website after notification of appropriate local officials has occurred. These can be found at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito along with educational materials for public distribution and other arbovirus related information.

Remember that short videos on preventing tick and mosquito-borne diseases are available for your use from www.mass.gov/mosquitoesandticks

If you have questions about forecasts of mosquito activity or current control operations for your area, please contact your local Mosquito Control Project.

Sincerely,

Catherine M. Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH
State Public Health Veterinarian
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
State Laboratory Institute
305 South Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 983-6800
FAX: (617) 983-6840
E-mail: Catherine.Brown@state.ma.us