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Mosquito Testing Continues After Positive EEE in Topsfield

Mosquitoes in Hamilton and Wenham continue to be tested for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Mosquito testing continues in Hamilton and Wenham after a mosquito last week tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Topsfield.

The mosquito that tested positive for EEE in Topsfield was found in the corner of the town closest to Ipswich and Boxford, said Jack Card, director of the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito and Wetlands Management District.

Topsfield officials were scheduled to meet on Monday night to consider its options and whether it wants to spray for mosquitoes. Both Boxford and Ipswich were notified, Card said, and Ipswich plans targeted spraying.

A mosquito also tested positive for EEE in Reading, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

No positive tests have come from mosquitoes in either Hamilton or Wenham, Card said.

EEE is considered to be more dangerous that West Nile Virus, typically starting with a fever, stiff neck, headache and lack of energy, according to a fact sheet from the state Department of Public Health. Later, inflammation and swelling of the brain is the most “dangerous and frequent serious complication and some patients may go into a coma within a week, according to the Department of Health.

Card said testing continues twice a week at “historical testing sites” in all 32 cities and towns in the district, including Hamilton and Wenham.

In Wenham, Health Agent Greg Bernard said that testing is occurring at several trapping stations.

"To date, none have tested positive," Bernard said. "Spraying has not been scheduled at this time."

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Hamilton Health Agent Leslie Whelan was not available for comment on Monday and Tuesday.

Extra traps have also been placed in the towns because of the increased number of positive tests in recent weeks. When a mosquito tests positive, more traps are added to that area too, Card said.

In addition to the mosquito that tested positive for EEE in Topsfield, mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Methuen, Peabody and Revere. But none in communities neighboring Hamilton and Wenham. And in all cases, no humans or animals have been reported to have contracted the diseases.

West Nile Virus “can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis,” according to a fact sheet compiled by the state Department of Public Health. People age 50 and older are at the greatest risk of “severe infection.” It is most commonly spread through mosquito bites.

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