The Consolidated School District of New Britain has become the latest in Connecticut to end all outdoor activities before dusk amid the EEE and West Nile Virus threat.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been detected in mosquitoes in 15 towns across the state, and two people have died in Connecticut this season after contracting the disease. While the virus has not been detected in New Britain, the city’s health department and mayor’s office are encouraging everyone to minimize time spent outdoors from dawn to dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. The school district is rescheduling all outdoor activities to end by 5:30 p.m.
“It’s important to keep our student athletes safe and our community on notice for this serious health issue,” said Mayor Erin Stewart said in a media statement.
The health department is advising other organizations to consider rescheduling outdoor events after dusk.
EEE is rare but can be deadly in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of people who contract the virus die, and others are left with brain damage.
West Nile Virus, which is more common and also carried by mosquitoes, has been detected in 23 towns. While West Nile can be fatal, it is not as deadly as EEE. Many who contract West Nile do not experience symptoms, and those that do often recover.
The health department offered the following tips to protect against mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellant containing DEET when outdoors; reapply as directed by the manufacturer.
- Avoid peak hours of mosquito activity (one hour after dawn and an hour before dusk).
- Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks when outdoors, especially in evening hours.
- Repair damaged widow and door screens
- Remove standing water from around your home