The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced late Wednesday that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been detected in mosquitoes for the first time this year. The mosquito samples were collected in the town of Easton. West Nile virus (WNV) has also been detected in mosquitoes collected from Boston.
EEE and WNV are transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. By taking a few common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Limit your time outdoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn) or, if you must remain outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus may also be considered. Products with permethrin should only be used on clothing. Always follow the directions on the label. Repellents should not be used on children younger than two months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors. When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
Fix any holes in screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all doors and windows.
Remove any standing water from backyards so mosquitoes can’t breed. Mosquitoes will begin to breed in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days. Make sure water does not collect and stagnate in ceramic pots, trash cans, recycling containers, old tires, wading pools, birds baths, etc. Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of roof gutters.
In addition, the Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project (NCMCP) will conduct weekly ground based spraying on Tuesday mornings between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. based on residents requests and mosquito activity monitoring, weather permitting.
Residents who wish to have their property sprayed by NCMCP should fill out an online request form at http://www.norfolkcountymosquito.org or call them at 781-762-3681 each week by Monday at 12:00 p.m.
If any resident wishes to know when the spray program may be conducted in their area, they should go to the Project’s website. Map and/or street listings will be posted on or about 3:30 p.m. each Monday. Residents may also contact the Project’s main telephone line 781-762-3681 after 3:30 p.m. each Monday to hear a recorded message detailing the streets/areas to be treated in the town.
If a resident wishes to have their property excluded from these pesticide applications they must request so in writing to the Town Clerk’s office. Please note that this request must be made each year. Even if you requested exclusion last year you must do so again for 2012.
More information on mosquito-borne diseases, on protecting yourself from bites by mosquitoes, and on safe application of mosquito repellents can be obtained by visiting the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
Please note, the MDPH no longer collects dead bird reports or tests dead birds for West Nile Virus. If you find a dead bird on your property, the MDPH advises that dead birds can be safely disposed of in the trash. Using gloves, a shovel or plastic bags covering your hands, the dead bird should be double-bagged and placed in the trash. You should then wash your hands.