AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn Board of Health doesn’t anticipate moving this week’s Friday night football game at Auburn High School. But many schools around Central Massachusetts have rescheduled their night games to the afternoons because of the threat of West Nile virus and EEE.
The mosquito spraying Wednesday night at Auburn High School “will take down the mosquito population,” allowing for Friday’s game against Holliston to move forward as planned, said Andrew Pelletier, Auburn’s development and inspectional services director.
“Because we are spraying Wednesday night, it will hold down the mosquito population through the weekend,” Pelletier said. “Therefore, we anticipate we aren’t going to move that game. We’ll be working with the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control to schedule weekly spraying of the fields until after the first hard frost.”
Mosquito spraying was done Wednesday night at the Pappas Recreation Complex, Lemansky Park and Auburn High School. The girls soccer game at the high school Wednesday night was postponed because of the spraying.
The West Nile virus and EEE threat has been at an all-time high this year, causing many neighboring schools to move Friday night football games to Saturday afternoons.
Seven of the games set for Friday, Sept. 14, have been moved to the morning or afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 15: Groton-Dunstable at Murdock at 11 a.m., South at Oxford at 11 a.m., Athol at Narragansett at 1 p.m., Leicester at Oakmont at 1 p.m., Uxbridge at Grafton at 1 p.m. and Wachusett at Algonquin at 3 p.m. In addition, David Prouty moved its home game against Northbridge from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
“We are continuing with the schedule, but that’s not saying it won’t change,” Auburn Athletic Director William Garneau said. “The Board of Health would make that decision. It would be a nightmare if we have to change the games around, but the health of our student-athletes is more important than anything.”
A Central Massachusetts child Monday became the third person in the state diagnosed with EEE, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The death of a Westborough man from the mosquito-borne ailment raised the risk level in that town to critical while boosting the risk in surrounding towns to high Friday.
In August, West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes collected from the Pakachoag Hill and Heard Street areas of Auburn. Auburn has performed ultra-low volume spraying to kill mosquitoes in those areas. The Health Department said it’s important to note that no human cases have been identified in Auburn.