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UPDATE: Local towns ending activities by dusk as precaution against EEE

New London — A day after an adult East Lyme resident tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, officials throughout the region announced Tuesday that outdoor activities will end by dusk until further notice.

The cities of New London and Norwich, and multiple towns including Waterford and Ledyard canceled a range of previously approved outdoor activities or required them to conclude by 6:15 or 6:30 p.m. Town and school officials in East Lyme, Groton and Stonington took similar precautions in recent days.

Ledge Light Heath District, Uncas Health District and the state Department of Public Health have urged added precautions as mosquitoes in 12 towns across the state have tested positive for the virus. Horses in two towns also have tested positive.

"We realize that this will greatly affect many practices and games, but ask for your help in conveying the message that it is a wise decision to protect the health of our community," Norwich Recreation Director Cheryl Hancin Preston said in a statement.

"To effectively meet our safety objectives in this matter we will need the full cooperation of all city employees and the public," New London Chief Administrative Officer Steven Fields said in a news release. "We must be mindful of this threat and take all reasonable precautions for our on-duty city employees that must work in the outdoor environment during the dusk to dawn periods."

The East Lyme case was the first reported instance of human exposure in Connecticut this season, and the second ever reported in the state. The first case in 2013 led to the death of a Killingly resident.

The state Department of Public Health recently advised against "unnecessary trips into mosquito breeding grounds and marshes, as the mosquitoes that transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus are associated with freshwater swamps and are most active at dusk and dawn."

The state health department urged residents to take preventative measures, including wearing protective clothing and mosquito repellent.

Connecticut officials currently have no plans to implement widespread aerial pesticide spraying in the state.

Eight human eastern equine encephalitis cases have been reported in Massachusetts, one of which was fatal. Rhode Island has had one human case, in West Warwick, which was fatal.


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