Methuen Issues ‘Critical’ Risk After Horse Tests Positive for EEE

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Methuen residents are advised to limit outdoor exposure after sundown effective immediately after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health elevated the city’s risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) to “critical” Monday afternoon. The designation comes on the heels of a horse testing positive for the mosquito-borne illness.

Residents are asked to consider cancelling or rescheduling outdoor activities until further notice, Mayor James P. Jajuga said in a statement. City leadership plans to gather Monday afternoon to discuss how to handle the threat.

“We are very concerned about the critical EEE designation. It is not common for a community in Essex County to face this level of concern for the virus, so we feel it is extremely important to gather our leadership team this afternoon and make sure we have a strategy and messaging plan in place that will offer responsible guidelines to all Methuen residents and business owners,” Jajuga said.

While rare, the EEE virus may cause brain infections or encephalitis and leave serious, lifelong complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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