By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — The city’s ban on evening outdoor activities will remain in effect through the weekend as officials monitor mosquito populations for the threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus.
The ban — which began last Tuesday and impacts all city and school properties — prompted the rescheduling of Friday night’s football game at Nicholson Stadium between Methuen and Dracut high schools to Saturday at 2 p.m.
Mosquito control workers sprayed pesticide Tuesday night in the northeast section of the city after a mosquito collected there tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The spraying was initially planned for Monday night but was delayed due to cold temperatures. Previous positive tests in Methuen this year have detected mosquitoes with West Nile virus.
Methuen Community Development Director William Buckley said the city will receive more test results Friday.
“We’re sitting tight,” said Buckley. “First and foremost, we want to continue to urge all residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
The state Department of Public Health raised Methuen’s risk level for West Nile virus earlier this week from low to moderate after recent positive tests. The risk level for EEE remained low. New risk levels are released weekly.
The spraying Tuesday night was conducted within the area of Howe Street, the Haverhill line, North Street to the north and Maple Street and Hampstead Street to the south.
Workers sprayed pesticide last week in all city neighborhoods west of Interstate 93, as well as a small area in the northeast of the city. Spraying in targeted areas of west Methuen was also conducted Sept. 9.
Public school properties and recreational fields were sprayed before school opened for the year. All of the city’s catch basins were also treated with larvicide.
Avoid Mosquito Bites Limit your time outdoors during peak mosquito hours (dusk to dawn). Consider rescheduling evening and early-morning outdoor activities. Mosquito-proof your home. Limit the number of places around your home where mosquitoes can breed by draining items that hold water. For more information on mosquito-borne illness, go to www.cityofmethuen.net, www.northeastmassmosquito.com and www.mass.gov/dph.