Haverhill Suspends Nighttime School Sports, Ramps Up Testing Amid Local EEE Threat

(File photograph)

The City of Haverhill has suspended all nighttime after-school sports practices and games and is recommending outdoor events and activities be postponed until further notice as the region deals with an elevated risk of the equine encephalitis virus (EEE).

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Tuesday that while no infected mosquitos have been found in Haverhill this year, the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control District plans to conduct supplemental trapping and testing of mosquitos in the city. Catch basins and other fresh water areas will be sprayed with larvicide this week, his office said. The actions come after a dead horse was found infected with the virus in Methuen.

“We are advising that residents stay indoors from dusk to dawn, to the extent possible,” Fiorentini said. “Typically, this lasts until the first frost.”

Haverhill Public Schools’ Superintendent Margaret Marotta said all after-school activities and sports will conclude at 7 p.m. until Sept. 30. All school facilities, including the high school track and playing fields, will close at 7 p.m. until Sept. 30.

For further protection from mosquito bites, Fiorentini suggests residents limit outdoor activities from dusk until dawn, use insect repellant and wear long sleeves and long pants. Property owners are also advised to check for standing water that may attract mosquitos.

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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