SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 3, 2012

EEE threat leads towns to ban outdoor activities

(Continued)

Last night's men's soccer game between Gordon and Endicott College was bumped to 3 p.m. today.

"The health of our kids is more important than our schedule," said Tymann.

Town officials in Ipswich, Hamilton and Wenham alerted residents to the heightened EEE threat yesterday in reverse-911 messages.

Mosquitoes have tested positive for both EEE and West Nile virus in several North Shore communities this fall, including Hamilton, Wenham, Topsfield and Peabody.

EEE and West Nile virus are spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. While rare, human cases of EEE and West Nile virus can become serious and even fatal.

Town officials have opted to spray mosquito insecticide repeatedly in Hamilton, Wenham and Ipswich this fall. In mid-September, the Ipswich Public Schools decided to cancel all outdoor activities, such as sports games and practices, after 5:30 p.m. as a precaution.

Massachusetts has had seven confirmed human cases of EEE so far this year, three of which were fatal. Two of the human cases were in the Merrimack Valley, in Amesbury and Haverhill.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, most people bitten by an infected mosquito develop no symptoms. Severe cases begin with flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and vomiting.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.

Mosquito tips

Use mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

Repair window screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Dump standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

Use mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens outdoors.

Full details are posted on each town's website: www.hamiltonma.gov, www.wenhamma.gov and www.ipswichma.gov.

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