Chemicals will again be sprayed on Thursday night in a portion of Hamilton to kill mosquitoes, as the town’s threat level for mosquito-borne illnesses remains at the highest level - “critical.”
On Monday, the Hamilton Board of Health voted to ban all organized outdoor activities on both public and private property from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. until the threat level drops or there is a hard frost.
The move to enact the outdoor activities ban came after a horse in Essex tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis last weekend. Since Hamilton borders Essex, has similar habitat and had a mosquito test positive for EEE earlier this summer, the threat level was raised to the highest level – critical – by the state Department of Public Health.
The spraying will now happen in portions of Hamilton near Essex. The targeted spaying from a truck will happen along Essex Street and roads east of Essex Street, plus along Sagamore Street, Autumn Lane, Moulton and Gardner streets and roads to the east of Sagamore Street.
It will be the fifth time that spraying will have been conducted this year in Hamilton – four times in the Essex Street area and once along Highland Street. Previously, spraying was conducted on Aug. 21, Sept. 4, 10 and 26.
The spraying on Thursday night will happen between 6:30 p.m. and 2 a.m., weather permitting. Residents in the area of the spraying are asked to stay indoors during the spraying – in addition to the existing outdoor activity ban.
Since spraying can not happen when it is raining or below 60 degrees, the Board of Health will update the Hamilton town website on Friday morning to say whether the spraying occurred or not. The Thursday night forecast calls for showers and a low temperature of 51 degrees, falling from the low 60s during the day.
In addition to EEE, mosquitoes in Hamilton have also tested positive for West Nile Virus, another mosquito-borne disease.
The Hamilton Board of Health is working with the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District to set up additional mosquito surveillance traps to determine how widespread the issue is.
Steps residents should take in the area where spraying will occur include:
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.