• Halloween is extra scary this year thanks to mosquito-borne viruses

    By: Evan White


    METHUEN, Mass. - Halloween is imminent, but it's also a potentially dangerous year to be trick-or-treating because of the threat of infected mosquitoes.

    As the hallowed holiday approaches, health officials are warning the risk of mosquito-borne viruses remains high.

    Eastern Equine Encephalitis, EEE, has resulted in four deaths across Massachusetts already this year and many communities are still at 'critical risk,' according to the department of public health. 

    So for Halloween, some cities, like Methuen, are asking trick-or-treators to head out earlier than usual this year for safety.

    "One killing frost will pretty much kill off the mosquitoes, it's possible for some to hide out, so we'd like to see a second one but even really one killing frost should take us out of hot water," Department of Public Health Director of Infectious Diseases Larry Madoff said. 

    Until that happens, the threat of the deadly EEE virus lingers in Methuen, and dozens of other communities across eastern Massachusetts are considered at high and critical risk.

    "I don't want to risk the health and safety of any of the children here in the city of Methuen," Mayor James Jajuga said. 

    Given the EEE risk, Mayor Jajuga is asking parents to bring children out for trick-or-treating earlier. Instead of 5-7 p.m., Thursday, it’ll be 4:30-6 p.m., since mosquitoes are active at dusk.

    But that's a little early for TaylaMcCaffrey and others.

    "I do understand [it] but a lot of people work, like myself, I work 8-5," she said. "A lot ofp eople aren't home to give out candy at 4:30."

    There have been no human cases of EEE in Methuen but a horse did test postive, according to the mayor.

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