Westboro closes fields early due to mosquito threat
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (WHDH) -- Local communities are going to great lengths to keep people safe as the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses like EEE and West Nile virus looms over several Bay State towns.
Along with soccer balls, cleats, and water bottles, the latest piece of "must-have" equipment for practice in Westborough is bug spray.
For the first time, Westborough’s director of public health says the town is on high alert for EEE; eastern equine encephalitis. The director has been coordinating with schools, parks and recreation, and other organizations to make sure outdoor activities are done by dusk.
“The coaches did send out an email that they’re going to start earlier and end it before sunset because of the EEE virus alert,” said Jshree Bala, a parent.
“We used to play until it got dark but now they’re having us start an hour earlier so they can get everybody off,” said Dave Sommerville, a parent.
The rare and potentially-deadly disease even has the health director warning against walking your dog at night, which is a tough thing to avoid for many families.
“Usually if the bugs are out, I go inside. But with a puppy and kids right now, we can’t always do that,” said Maria Wharton, a parent.
At 6:30 p.m. cars started rolling out of Haskell Field with precision.
“We are respecting the time. As soon as the sun goes down we evacuate and go inside,” said Sergio Vieira, a parent.
Parents say the threat of EEE is frightening, but what the town’s doing to prepare everyone gives them great comfort.
“It makes me feel secure that they’re on top of it and letting us know what’s going on,” Wharton said.
And at 7 p.m., the last car drove off.
Westboro public health officials say a big concern is that they already have seven positive mosquito samples compared to last year in which they had only one by the end of September.