EEE Threat Forces UMass to Cancel Outdoor Activities

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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Officials at the area’s largest university have taken the precautionary step to restrict outdoor activities on-campus, following an increased threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

In a message sent out to the UMass campus community Wednesday, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy says that after conferring with campus health and safety staff, “all outdoor evening campus events are banned from dusk to dawn until the first hard frost.”

“While this step may be an inconvenience for some groups or departments, it is important that we safeguard the health of our community,” Subbaswamy adds.

UMass is asking campus departments, programs, and student organizations to reschedule events or move those events indoors, whenever possible.

The precautionary measure comes on the heels of the recommendation of the state’s Department of Public Health, which recommends a ban on outdoor evening activities in communities deemed at ‘High’ risk for EEE.

The Mass. DPH placed Amherst on the a ‘High’ threat risk last week after a second horse in Belchertown tested positive for EEE.

Crews on the Amherst campus will also be applying larvicide to areas of standing water to help prevent mosquito breeding.

No human cases of EEE have been discovered in the state so far this year.