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October 16, 2013

City lifts outdoor activity ban after easing of West Nile Virus threat

HAVERHILL — The city has lifted the ban on outdoor activities it had put in place after mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus were detected in two places in the city in late August.

Mayor James Fiorentini said the city’s Board of Health recommended removing the outdoor activities ban due to cold weather.

He said that at this time of year, the evening temperatures drop below 50 degrees and mosquitoes are less active, die or hibernate for the winter. The daytime temperatures rise, but activity is limited. The removal of the ban comes with recommendations for outdoor activities from dusk to dawn even though the mosquito activity is limited.

“The cold snaps in the evening have given us the ability to lift the ban, but I still want to stress that taking precautions is the best method to limiting your exposure to any mosquito transmitted diseases,” Fiorentini said. “Protecting our citizens is my first priority and the Board of Heath recommends lifting the ban and encourages residents to continue to use precautions when outside from dusk to dawn.”

The city had banned activities on public property, including schoolyards and parks and playgrounds from dusk to dawn. The ban applied to all youth and adult programs, including organized sports and other activities.

The Board of Health recommends taking common sense precautionary measures, such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and avoiding outdoor activities from dusk to dawn. In addition, residents are urged to check their properties for unattended containers of standing water which may attract mosquitoes.

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