By News Staff

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BOSTON, MASS (WLNE) - The risk level in nine communities were raised to critical on Saturday After laboratory testing, confirmed that a 60-year-old male from southern Plymouth, has the first documented case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) since 2013. 

"Today's news is evidence of the significant risk from EEE and we are asking residents to take this risk very seriously, said Public Health Commissioner Monic Bharel, MD, MPH. "We will continue in Plymouth County and the impacted communities." 

According to the Department of Public Health, the nine communities now at critical risk are: Carver, Lakeville, Marion, Middleborough, Rochester, and Wareham in Plymouth County and New Bedford, Acushnet, and Freetown in Bristol County. 

Aerial spraying to reduce the mosquito population began on Thursday, August 8, and is expected to continue throughout the weekend during the evening and overnight hours. 

Residents are still reminded that they should use mosquito repellent and consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure. 

According to the DPH, 15 additional communities on southeastern Massachusetts have been determined to be at high risk for the EEE virus, and 18 at moderate risk. 

EEE is a rare and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages, according to DPH. 

EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006- and 2010-2012. 

The DPH said there were 22 human cases of EE infection during those outbreak periods with 14 cases occurring among residents of Bristol and Plymouth counties. 

EEE virus has been found in 227 mosquito samples this year. 

For the other updates on how to avoid the infection and to view a downloadable fact sheet, go to www.mass.gov./guides/aerial-mosquito-control-summer-2019

WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019