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September 21, 2013

EEE detected in Methuen as more spraying planned

METHUEN — Mosquito control workers will spray pesticide Monday night in the northeast section of the city after a mosquito collected there tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

This is the first positive test for EEE in the city this year. It was announced yesterday by state public health officials. The infected mosquito was found in a testing pool Tuesday.

Previous positive tests in Methuen this year have detected mosquitoes with West Nile virus.

Weather permitting, regional mosquito control workers will spray pesticide Monday night within the area of Howe Street, the Haverhill line, North Street to the north and Maple Street and Hampstead Street to the south.

The spraying is scheduled for 7 p.m. but is subject to temperature and weather conditions.

EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under age 15 over 50 are at a higher risk for serious illness, according to city health officials.

The state Department of Public Health raised Methuen’s risk level for West Nile virus this week from low to moderate after recent positive tests. No mosquitoes collected in the city tested positive for West Nile virus this week.

The risk level for EEE remained low yesterday. New risk levels are released weekly.

Workers sprayed pesticide Thursday night in all city neighborhoods west of Interstate 93, as well as a small area in the northeast of the city. Spraying in targeted areas of west Methuen was also conducted Sept. 9.

Public school properties and recreational fields were sprayed before school opened for the year. All of the city’s catch basins were also treated with larvicide.

Beginning Tuesday, the city canceled evening outdoor activities on public property in response to the heightened threat of West Nile virus. The city announced yesterday that the evening activity ban will remain in effect until further notice.

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