Hamilton will spray for mosquitos Tuesday after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Friday that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from town.
According to the Hamilton Board of Health: "This is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of EEE, targeted truck spraying in the area along Essex Street and roads east of Essex Street will be conducted in Hamilton on Tuesday, September 4, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., weather permitting. Residents in the targeted areas are asked to stay indoors during the spraying."
The Hamilton Board of Health is working closely with the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District, according to the press release issued Friday.
Additional mosquito surveillance traps have been set up in Hamilton and surrounding communities to determine how wide spread the issue is.
Decisions regarding spraying will be made by the Hamilton Board of Health in cooperation with Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District.
Additional steps that can be taken to minimize or avoid exposure when truck spraying is scheduled to take place include:
• People with asthma and/or other respiratory conditions may wish to stay indoors, since it is possible that if exposure to pesticide spray occurred, it could aggravate those conditions. These individuals may want to consult their physician for further advice.
• Keep windows closed and fans off. Shut off air conditioners unless they have a setting for recirculating indoor air.
• Rinse any homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as is typically done before cooking or eating them.
• Keep pets indoors during spraying to minimize their risk of exposure.
• If skin and/or clothes or other items are exposed to the sprayed pesticide, wash with soap and water.
• If the spray gets in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water or eye drops, and call your doctor.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by mosquitoes. The first symptoms of EEE are fever, stiff neck, headache and lack of energy. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness. The Hamilton Board of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) recommend that the public take action now to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations around their home and neighborhoods.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.
Information about EEE and reports of EEE activity in Massachusetts during 2012 can be found on the MDPH website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.