EEE Threat Prompts Night Time Park Closures
The threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus has prompted the city to seek out more spraying as well as closing parks after dark.
The rising threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has officials closing public parks at 6:30 p.m. and urging everyone to curtail evening activities.
"We want to be most protective and least painful," said Robert Landry, the administrator of the board of health who said more mosquito spraying will occur to combat the EEE. "But we need to be most protective of public health."
Beginning today, the City of Marlborough will prohibit the use of Ghiloni Park, Ward Park, Stevens Park (lower field), Kelleher Field and the Whitcomb Middle School softball field from 6:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. The ban will be in effect until further notice.
The City of Marlborough has requested and authorized truck mounted spraying at each of those fields which will be conducted by the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Board.
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The goal is not to scare but to educate and protect, said Landry. All the 351 communities in the state are at least at a moderate risk of EEE. West Nile Virus (WNV) was initially discovered in Marlborough in August.
"Protecting the public health is our first priority,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant. "These precautionary measures will reduce the risk of exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses amongst city residents until such time that spraying and cooler temperatures are able to reduce the mosquito population."
Marlborough is listed at a high level of risk for EEE and WNV by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Nearby Westborough has been listed at a critical level. To date, the state has had 13 cases of WNV, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The fourth case of EEE was confirmed by the DPH Thursday, according to Boston's Channel 7 News.
"The stuff is out there. It's right in our backyards," said Landry.
Landry reached out to Marlborough School District Athletic Director Jeff Rudzinsky who has begun to reschedule sports games.
The highest risk remains from dusk until dawn, when the mosquitoes are at their most active, said Landry.
A meeting was held at 1 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the mosquito issue. It included Health Director Bob Landry, Recreation Director Dave Grasso, Public Works Commissioner Ron LaFreniere, Emergency Management Director Don Cusson, Superintendent of Schools Stephen Dlott and Executive Aide to the
Mayor Mike Berry.
The city will possibly bring out road signs to help inform the public of the heightened risk, said Landry.
However, the only real end to the mosquitoes and the EEE and WNV they carry continues to be a good frost or two, he said.
The City and the Board of Health strongly recommend that all residents use caution during their outdoor evening activities. The use of insect repellant, long sleeve clothing and pants is encouraged among any residents who plan to be outdoors in the evening hours.