DPH won’t say where EEE victims live. An expert calls that mystifying abuse of the records law.
By Cody Shepard
The Enterprise
Posted Feb 7, 2020 at 6:02 PM Updated Feb 7, 2020 at 6:02 PM

The Department of Public Health has denied releasing the requested records three times — citing the same reasons twice — and the newspaper has appealed each time, as recently as Thursday.

Last year, a dozen people across Massachusetts contracted Eastern equine encephalitis and four of them died of the rare but serious and potentially deadly disease.

Although the virus is only spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, rather than person-to-person, communities can be considered at anywhere from a remote to critical risk for EEE.

Communities that are at the highest level — critical — are considered to have an excessive risk for EEE and cities and towns are elevated to that level once a person who has been infected is identified in that area.

But you may never know whether the person who contracted the EEE virus lives in your city or town — or on the opposite side of the county.

The Department of Public Health, the state agency that focuses on prevention and wellness, provides public information regarding victims who contract EEE, as well as the West Nile virus, and tips for how people can protect themselves against the diseases.

In releasing information about victims who contract the mosquito-borne diseases, the Department of Public Health releases a wide age range and only the county that the victim lives in, rather than the specific city or town...