Westborough's threat level for EEE was elevated to critical today -- the top rung on the state Department of Public Health's ranking system.
The decision came one day after the state agency determined that a Westborough resident was Massachusetts' first reported death this year from Eastern equine encephalitis, the agency said in a press release.
The resident was "likely exposed" in Westborough, the agency said. DPH Media Relations Manager Anne Roach told Westborough Patch the agency does not release or confirm such victims' names. However, the Boston Globe reports the resident is Benjamin Duce, 79. Westborough Director of Public Health Paul McNulty said this morning the victim resided in the southeast part of Westborough, near the Hopkinton border.
Communities identified at the critical or high EEE threat levels are urged to cancel outdoor activities after sunset until the first frost, DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria told Westborough Patch.
, the day after the DPH raised the town to high.
DeMaria said he hopes elevating the threat level further will raise public awareness.
"Basically, we're concerned about sunset to sunrise," he said.
The state agency today also raised six communities to high: Grafton, Hopkinton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Upton.