Minuscule Man Killer

A relatively new disease, Eastern equine encephalitis, better known as EEE, has been terrorizing New England.

EEE, a disease originating from mosquitoes, has killed 11 people in the United States this year.

This has affected Triton High School, as well as many other high schools in the area, mostly due to outdoor sports being held at times that EEE is at high risk.

“The school district is in constant communication with the Department of Health,” said athletic director of Triton Regional High School, Timothy Alberts. “And we go off of their guidance as to whether or not we need to implement to a curfew.”

  First being recognized among horses in Massachusetts, EEE is a threat to any outdoor activities, such as high school sports. It is an alphavirus disease that causes an inflammation of the brain. It is spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with EEE. The outbreak of this currently incurable disease has caused the death of 11 people in the United States this year, already making 2019 the worst year for EEE. There have been a total of four cases of EEE in Massachusetts, three of which had resulted in death. Often times, doctors will prescribe corticosteroids, a steroid hormone, and anticonvulsants, which are usually used for epileptic seizures. Despite these medications, there is currently no way to prevent the 35 percent mortality rate. “I play volleyball, so at least it’s inside instead of outside,” says sophomore Reagan Faloon. “I feel bad for sports outside and how they’ve been affected.”

According to The Department of Health, routine mosquito testing ended on October 11th of this year in an article posted on their website titled EEE in Massachusetts. A chart attached to the article gives recommended cancellation times for outdoor activities, categorized by weeks. The printable fact sheet and contact information available on the page makes it very clear that EEE is a threat, and should be taken very seriously. Schools have been spraying their fields, and often, spraying times interfere with practice for athletes. “One night, during Marching Band practice, we had to go inside because they were spraying for mosquitoes. It made practicing hard because it’s difficult to replicate the football field in the gym.” said senior Marcella Hubbard-Brucher, senior on the marching band team at Triton.

Although EEE has taken New England and many other states by surprise, a hard frost will be the deciding indicator for EEE disappearing until next year. However, that frost is yet to come.