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Authorities have found mosquitoes carrying Eastern equine encephalitis in Worcester, Massachusetts, the location for Shine 2019. Shine 2019 is a Super Smash Bros. event scheduled for this weekend, Aug 23 – 25. However, this news has left some in the Smash community doubting the safety of the tournament.
Worcester is one of 17 communities in Massachusetts that may be affected by mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus. Though Worcester is part of an upcoming aerial spray zone, the city does not currently face a critical risk. As a result, it is likely safer than other nearby communities.
EEE causes swelling of the brain and has the potential to be fatal. According to the state of Massachusetts, there is a 30% mortality rate among those who contract the virus. Mosquitoes that bite humans are among those that tested positive for EEE in Massachusetts.
Shine 2019 acknowledged the mosquitoes in a recent tweet. The Shine staff reiterated some safety tips from the Boston Globe article they shared. Shine has advised attendees not to go outdoors between dusk and dawn. In addition, attendees should use bug spray that contains DEET and wear clothing that covers their whole bodies.
To all Shine Attendees – Please be advised that mosquitoes testing positive for EEE virus have been reported in Western MA.
It is advised you avoid outside from dusk til dawn, use bug spray containing DEET and wear long sleeves/pants.
More info here:https://t.co/W8xQAcM549
— Shine_Series (@Shine_Series) August 22, 2019
The Smash community reacts
In a follow-up tweet, the Shine 2019 staff noted that the mosquitoes are not likely to impact the venue. Said venue is located in downtown Worcester, a “concrete jungle” with many buildings. Because of this, the Shine Twitter page said, “the presence of critters will be minimum.” Even so, some prominent competitors have voiced concerns about attending the event.
Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma shared the Boston Globe’s headline in his tweet. “I don’t mean to cause a slight panic,” he said, “but Shine is low key cursed this year.” William “Leffen” Hjelte sent a tweet asking if he should just skip out on the event. Rasheen “Dark Wizzy” Rose even jokingly retweeted Shine 2019’s follow-up on the mosquitoes. Dark Wizzy suggested the reassuring words were just a trick from the mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes just using this as a bait, its a mix up we all getting bitten https://t.co/UuBwFHEtm5
— ⚔️ Dark Wizzy ⚔️ (@Dark_Wizzy_) August 22, 2019
Despite the uncertainty posed by some Smashers, others have assured the safety of the event. Dan “BonkCushy” Cushing is a Super Smash Bros. Melee player and an employee of the state of Massachusetts. BonkCushy assured top players that they need not fear mosquitoes at Shine 2019 if they wear bug spray. He even shared the location of a CVS near the venue where players could purchase bug spray.
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.