EEE Risk Raised to Critical, State to Conduct Second Round of Aerial Spraying Tonight at 7:45
After finding more positive mosquito pools, the state is conducting another round of aerial spraying in six area towns.
Once again, EEE was found in mosquitoes in Easton, and the state is stepping into action.
More findings of positive pools in town have led the Department of Public Health to announce plans for another round of aerial spraying in Easton and five other towns. Additionally, the risk for EEE has been raised from "high" to "critical" - the highest risk.
Easton will be sprayed tonight at 7:45 p.m.
Spraying occurred previously in 21 towns, including Easton, during the weekend of July 21 and 22. This time, the Department of Public Health said spraying will begin "as soon as possible, following appropriate public notification and outreach."
EEE was originally found in Easton during the week of July 8. Since then, state officials have found numerous positive mosquitoes in the Shovel Town.
Although the last round of spraying reduced the mosquito population by 60 percent, according to the DPH, the state is hoping another round of aerial spraying will curtail it even further.
“While we saw a significant reduction in mosquitoes following the July aerial spraying, we are still concerned about the high levels of EEE that pose a public health threat to residents in southeastern Massachusetts,” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Gregory Watson in a statement. “We are continuing to work at the local and state level to employ the tools available to us to further knock down the mosquito population.”
Ground spraying is continuing in the area as well. The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project sprayed at Moreau Hall and Center School this week and will spray at the campus of Oliver Ames, Easton Middle School, Olmsted-Richardson and Parkview next week.
Below is an official statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced plans to conduct aerial spraying for mosquitoes in six towns in southeastern Massachusetts including Bridgewater, Easton, Norton, Raynham, Taunton, and West Bridgewater. Officials made the decision following the recent detection of numerous additional EEE-positive mosquito pools collected from sites in Easton and surrounding communities. Spraying will begin as soon as possible, following appropriate public notification and outreach. Residents are encouraged to continue checking local media and the DPH website at www.mass.gov/dph for further details and updates.
Based on the early and sustained presence of EEE in the area, the risk level has been raised from “High” to “Critical” in Bridgewater, Easton, Raynham, and Taunton; and from “Moderate” to “High” in Norton and West Bridgewater.
“It’s extremely important that residents in these communities take immediate steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach. “Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and nighttime when mosquitoes are at their most active, use insect repellant, and cover exposed skin.”
State officials conducted an initial round of aerial spraying in late July, which resulted in a 60% decline in the mosquito population in the areas that were sprayed.
“While we saw a significant reduction in mosquitoes following the July aerial spraying, we are still concerned about the high levels of EEE that pose a public health threat to residents in southeastern Massachusetts,” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Gregory Watson. “We are continuing to work at the local and state level to employ the tools available to us to further knock down the mosquito population.”
In the meantime, local mosquito control projects will continue to conduct enhanced mosquito sampling in the coming days and have already increased ground spraying activities.
There have been no human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) or EEE so far this year. There were two cases of EEE in August of last year acquired in Massachusetts; a fatal case in a Bristol County man and an infection in a tourist from out of state. EEE activity in both 2010 and 2011 raised public concern and prompted DPH to work with a panel of experts to evaluate and enhance the state’s surveillance and response program. EEE is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. EEE is a serious disease in all ages and can even cause death.
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.