Sharon school officials are keeping students inside today and have canceled outdoor activities after Eastern Equine Encephalitis-positive bird- and mammal-biting mosquito pools were found in traps in town.
Also, Sharon Recreation Director Brett MacGowan said he has told all youth league presidents that their activities tonight are canceled.
A truck-based mosquito control application will occur from 8 to 10 tonight throughout Sharon toward targeting other mosquitoes that may be carrying the virus, Sharon health officials said in a notice posted on the town's website.
The state Department of Public Health and the Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project recommended the spraying, the notice says. The mosquito control project will honor "no spray" requests for this year, the notice states.
Sharon health officials have recommended that the school and recreation departments cancel their outdoor activities tonight.
"While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness," the notice says.
School Superintendent Timothy Farmer said the schools have canceled all outdoor recesses. The varsity, JV and freshman boys soccer home games vs. Attleboro are off, too.
And a field trip is off.
"Obviously, we don't want them digging for tadpoles," Farmer said.
Farmer said he issued a notice through the schools' AlertNow emergency notification system after health officials shared the EEE news this morning.
Farmer said he was unsure about Thursday's activities.
"We're going to wait to see what happens tomorrow," he said.
However, Sharon Health Administrator Linda Rosen said that "Outdoor activities can resume Thursday."
Town health officials also offered these safety tips:
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
- Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
- Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
EEE-positive mosquitoes have been found in Sharon for the second time in less than a month.
tested positive for the virus. The type of mosquito involved typically bites birds, but "can occasionally bite mammals, including humans, as well," according to a town notice issued soon after.