ESSEX (CBS) – The threat level for EEE has been raised to “critical” in Essex and Hamilton after the fifth case of EEE was confirmed in an Essex horse Monday.

Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Topsfield and Wenham have also raised their threat levels from “moderate” to “high.”

The Department of Public Health is urging communities at high or critical threat levels to cancel outdoor, evening events for the rest of the season.

“Although it is October, mosquitoes continue to be present in our environment until the first hard frost. Everyone needs to continue to take precautions to avoid getting bitten,”  DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria said in a statement. “Use insect repellant, cover up exposed skin, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and nighttime, when mosquitoes are at their most active. “

There have been seven confirmed human cases of EEE in Massachusetts residents so far this year, three of which resulted in death.

Initial symptoms of EEE are fever (often 103º to 106ºF), stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy, and in severe cases can progress to confusion, disorientation, and coma.


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