AMHERST, Ma – In a school-wide email early Friday morning, the Amherst College Public Affairs Office issued a public health warning about a potentially deadly outbreak of PEP.
“As a precautionary measure,” the email read, “this Friday’s ‘Fall Sports Rally’ will be cancelled, as will all similar events encouraging liveliness, excitement and/or vitality between 6:30 PM and 6:00 AM.”
“PEP is a rare viral infection that is dangerous and often fatal to humans,” Peter Rooney with Public Affairs explained. “It is spread through infected mosquito bites, loud cheering or chants, and choreographed dance numbers. Gymnasiums are particularly prominent breeding grounds, and Facilities has taken the precaution to spray insecticide over such areas.”
Similar nighttime activities bans have been issued at nearby schools, including UMass-Amherst after a particularly virulent PEP outbreak before a football game.
Students, staff, and faculty are also being advised to use care when outside in the evening and to use insect repellent. If you believe you’re showing symptoms of PEP, refer to this editorial in The Amherst Student.