HealthDay News — There is a “critical risk” for a dangerous mosquito-transmitted virus in 28 Massachusetts communities, the state health department warns.

The health department also said that 37 more communities are at high risk and another 126 are at moderate risk for Eastern equine encephalitis, CNN reported. The virus has been confirmed in four people this year, detected in seven horses, and found in 366 mosquito samples, state health authorities said.

The virus appears occasionally in Massachusetts. Recent outbreaks in 2004 to 2006 and 2010 to 2012 resulted in illness in 22 people, CNN reported.

“As we head into the Labor Day weekend and the month of September people should not forget to bring and use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent for any outdoor activities,” Monica Bharel, M.D., M.P.H., the state public health commissioner, said in a news release. “The peak time for transmission of mosquito-borne illness extends through September here in Massachusetts.”

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