NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Consolidated School District is resuming regularly scheduled evening events, including for sports, the city announced Tuesday.
Concerns of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, had prompted a number of schools throughout the state to reschedule outdoor sporting events over the past two weeks, but the change in temperature and the first frost of the season are expected to quell some of those concerns.
According to New Britain health officials, as temperatures drop throughout Connecticut, mosquito activity and populations are weakened, further reducing the risk of contact with humans.
“The first frost over the weekend has definitely helped reduce the mosquito population around our area, which is why the Director of Health is advising me that city evening activities including school sports can schedule activities past 6 p.m.,” New Britain mayor Erin Stewart said in a statement.
New Britain High School currently has one outside sporting event scheduled at night this week. Hall is set to visit Veterans Stadium Friday to play the New Britain football team. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The boys soccer team is scheduled to play at Veterans next Tuesday in a 6 p.m. start, while the girls soccer team is set to play at Platt in Meriden at the same time. Those are the only three outdoor night games on New Britain’s schedule the next two weeks.
According to reports, three people in Connecticut have died this year from EEE, which is transmitted by mosquitoes that tend to be more active in the evening hours, while a fourth person was hospitalized last week. The people who have died were bitten in East Haddam, Old Lyme and East Lyme. The fourth person, according to reports, is from Colchester.
Despite the reduced concerns, New Britain is still advising residents to protect themselves, especially the at-risk population, including the young and elderly, while outdoors when mosquitoes are present by taking personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
The Health Department recommends individuals involved in outdoor evening activities utilize personal protection methods such as: applying insect repellant containing DEET when outdoors; 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 window and door screens; remove standing water from around your home; dispose of water holding containers such as ceramic pots, used tires and clogged gutters; drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling; change water in bird baths often; clean and chlorinate pools and pool covers when not in use; and use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect.
According to the ct.gov website, “Most people infected with EEE virus do not become ill. When symptoms do occur they can range from mild fever and headache to coma. Other symptoms include high fever, fatigue, muscle aches, neck stiffness, tremors or confusion. Severe cases include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) which can lead to coma, convulsions and death.”
The site adds, “There is no cure for EEE, and three of every 10 people who get the disease die from it.”
While most disease-carrying mosquitoes have been in the southeastern part of the state, which is also where the three deaths occurred, diseased mosquitoes have also been found in South Windsor, and Massachusetts has reportedly had four deaths so far this season.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org