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October 27, 2012

Mosquito ban ends in Port

NEWBURYPORT — One week after surrounding communities lifted a ban on city-organized outdoor activities, the Newburyport Board of Health agreed to do the same.

While the board had initially hesitated to take the move saying there could still be a threat of mosquito-borne illness, they voted on Thursday to remove the restrictions, effective immediately.

Last week, Health Director Bob Bracey emailed the board members to offer his support for removing the ban, first issued on Sept. 20, citing information from the National Weather Service that a hard frost had occurred. But board members rejected the recommendation at the time, saying they felt it wasn’t a sufficient enough reason.

Instead the board agreed to seek input from Northeast Mosquito Control on whether the agency was still testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.

In a press release sent yesterday, the board didn’t give a specific reason for raising the ban now. They urged residents to continue to be vigilant and to take precautions while outdoors, including applying mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves, draining standing water in a yard, and installing window and door screens.

Neither the chairwoman of the board nor the city’s health director could be reached for comment.

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