EEE-positive mosquitoes detected in CantonBy Canton Citizen
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Tuesday that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been found in mammal-biting mosquitoes in the town of Canton. The town’s risk level has now been raised to “high.” The Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project will immediately intensify ground spraying in Canton and nearby communities.
Public health officials remind residents to continue to practice personal protection measures and recommend that communities designated as “high” risk curtail evening events for the remainder of the summer.
The mosquito samples were collected July 20 in the town of Canton. As a result, the risk level in the neighboring towns of Norwood, Westwood, Milton, and Randolph are being raised from “low” to “moderate.” Dedham, Sharon, and Stoughton will remain at “moderate.”
“The risk still exists and personal protection measures such as bug repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and staying indoors during peak mosquito hours from dusk to dawn are essential,” said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach. “We will continue to monitor the risk of EEE as mosquito trapping and testing occurs throughout the region this season.”
Many of the towns with elevated risk levels encompass the Blue Hills Reservation.
“[The Department of Conservation and Recreation] supports these precautions curtailing activities outdoors after dusk,” said DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert. “We are asking that all visitors to the Blue Hills curtail outdoor activity at dusk.”
Aerial spraying took place across 21 communities in southeastern Massachusetts during the evenings last weekend, July 20-22, although Canton was not included in the spraying effort.
There have been no human cases of West Nile virus or EEE so far this year. There were two cases of EEE in August of last year that were acquired in Massachusetts: a fatal case involving 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.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
* When outdoors, use an insect repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus 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 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 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.
* Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
* 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.
* 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 the Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the 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 webpage 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 also be found on this website.
Submitted by John L. Ciccotelli, R.S., C.H.O.
Director of Public Health
Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=15208