Eastern Equine Encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes. So is malaria, Zika, and a dozen other serious diseases, I have written about permethrin extensively as an agent to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease. It is a neurotoxin for insects, but not for men or women, and it will kill or disable a mosquito within seconds.

map of EEE cases in Mass

I wore permethrin treated clothing on a recent trip to Africa to prevent malaria (the preventive medicines are less than 100% effective). I bought some clothing from Insect Shield, and I sprayed everything from shoes to hats with Sawyer permethrin from Home Depot.

What the Army recommends is permethrin treated clothing, and a long acting DEET insect repellent, such as Ultrathon, on exposed skin. Read more about this here. For those of you who plan to be out in the early morning hours or around sunset, this is a small price to pay to avoid a disease with a 20% case/fatality rate. Unfortunately, if you live through the acute phase, lifetime neurologic deficits are common in the majority of patients.

James Katz MD

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