Threat level for EEE in Southborough raised to “moderate”

by susan on August 17, 2012

Post image for Threat level for EEE in Southborough raised to “moderate”

Above: Mosquito-borne-illness threat map for Massachusetts. Click here for a larger version. (via CMMCP)

State health officials yesterday bumped up the threat level for mosquito-borne-illness in our area after mammal-biting mosquitoes infected with the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus were found in Westborough.

The threat level in Westborough has been raised to High, while the threat in neighboring communities including Southborough, Northborough, Hopkinton, and others was raised to Moderate.

“We continue to see elevated levels of EEE activity in mosquitoes across the region, so it’s more important than ever for people to take precautions to avoid getting bit,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Use insect repellant, cover up exposed skin, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and nighttime, when mosquitoes are at their most active.“

In addition to the ones found in Westborough, mammal-biting mosquitoes infected with EEE were also found in New Bedford yesterday. Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were found in Northborough earlier this week.

In a comment on this blog, Executive Director of the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project Tim Deschamps said town-wide spraying in Westborough was scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week.

Infected mosquitoes have not been detected in Southborough, and no town-wide spraying is scheduled, but you can request spraying of your neighborhood by visiting the CCMCP website.

1 Mom of Two August 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

The map that Susan linked to has a detailed explanation of what “moderate risk” means. It does not mean don’t go outside, but it does mean wear mosquito repellant when outside in peak mosquito hours (dawn to dusk) and get rid of standing water on your property.

“High risk” = “consider canceling or rescheduling outdoor gatherings, organized sporting events, etc. during peak mosquito hours” – that stinks for Westborough!

2 Tim Deschamps August 17, 2012 at 12:22 PM

“Mom of Two” makes a good point. There is no reason the panic, even in Westboro, and everyone has a responsibility to protect themselves and their families. Use repellents, avoid high mosquito populations, changes times for outdoor events – all good advice. Spraying is an effective means to lower mosquito populations, but it is a temporary solution; risk will not be zero until frost settles in the area for good.

3 SouthboroDave August 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Bring on the winter!

4 Itchy & Scratchy August 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

On a related matter…we’ve noticed more mosquito activity in our house this year than ever before. For the past month we arm ourselves with repellent and fly swatters to combat the mosquito attacks that begin about 7:30pm. We’ve checked for standing water and the place is bone dry and the window screens are fine.

Any ideas? Are we alone?

5 Tim Deschamps August 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM

First question is, are you sure they are mosquitoes? There are many look-alike insects: Send me a picture and I can let you know. If they are mosquitoes, and you’re sure the window screens are tight, and they aren’t getting in when you open the doors, look for any possible containers inside holding water indoors. Mosquito need still water to complete their larval life stage.

6 Joyce August 17, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Tim: Could they be something other than mosquitos and still bite us? I’m Itchy’s wife and we can’t figure out where they come from. Maybe it’s the ACs but we don’t see them in the rooms with ACs, which are the upstairs bedrooms. We see them downstairs. Could they be coming from the drains?

7 Tim Deschamps August 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Hi Joyce: Yes, there are insects other than mosquitoes that bite, but not many that would develop in the house. No-see-ums, also called biting midges (Culicoides spp.) will come inside, and are extrememly small – they can go right through your window screen. They can cause quite a histamine reaction (itching, sometimes hives) in some people, but do not transmit dieaseas to us in this area. If there is any way you could get a decent picture and e-mail it to me, I may be able to help further –

8 SouthboroDave August 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Itchy: you are not alone. We usually find at least one skeeter in the house every night. Windows are closed. We don’t have central air, but we do have window units in three rooms. I’m guessing they are getting in through the units or around them. Can’t really make those things air tight. I don’t recall having this problem last year… Around 7:30-8pm the back deck is unusable. It’s a blood bath out there! I’m going to start keeping bats soon. I’m guessing the mild winter has had something to do with the increased population of insects this summer.

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