Massachusetts Department of Public Health Offers Tips to Avoid EEE
With aerial spraying set for next week, more precautions need to be taken, DPH says.
After announcing Tuesday that the state will conduct aerial spraying in 11 nearby Massachusetts communities, the Department of Public Health is stressing that further precautions to avoid Eastern Equine Encephalitis need to be taken by individuals in the community.
“It’s important to note that aerial spraying can only reduce but not eliminate the threat of mosquito-borne illness in the areas that are sprayed,” said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important for individuals in these communities to continue to take personal precautions against mosquito bites – both before and after aerial spraying is conducted.”
The announcement of aerial spraying, which is scheduled to take place next Monday, came after more EEE-positive mosquitoes were found on the Easton-Raynham town line this week. Positive mosquiotes were also found last week in Easton and Carver.
The threat has already affected town events, including the Easton Recreation Department Children's Races, which were moved up to 6 p.m. Thursday instead of 7, and the Easton Lions Club Dale and the Duds concert, which was postponed to a date TBD in September.
Last year, a Raynham man died of EEE, prompting a public outcry for quicker action from the state and aerial spraying.
Below are tips for staying safe from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 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.
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.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites: Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your 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 discarding 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: Keep mosquitoes 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. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results from 2012, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800. The findings of the DPH Eastern Equine Encephalitis Expert Panel can be found here.