No doubt you’ve heard that several mosquitoes have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in the southeastern part of our state. Now Southborough emergency officials are urging residents to take caution. Here’s what they have to say:
The Southborough Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) is issuing a warning to residents to take steps to protect themselves against mosquito-borne viruses.
A growing number of mosquitoes testing positive for eastern equine encephalitis (commonly know as EEE) have been located within various communities throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. There is increased concern by health officials of a larger-spread and longer threat season, as it is very early in the season to find EEE infected mosquitoes. The threat of mosquito-borne viruses usually lasts until the first frost/freeze.
While mosquitoes testing positive with EEE have only been located in Southern Massachusetts at this time, EEE infected mosquitoes are likely to spread to other areas of the State. In 2011, EEE infected mosquitoes (as well as mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus) were found in Auburn, Shrewsbury and Westborough.
SEMA strongly recommends that residents take precautions when outdoors and limit outside activities during dusk and in swampy/wooded areas, common times and environments with mosquito activity. Specific preventive measures include:
- Applying repellents that contain DEET on those for whom it is safe. Read product labels carefully for restrictions;
- Whenever possible, avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk;
- Rid your surroundings of any standing water (tires, pools, barrels, etc.);
- Use mosquito nets on baby carriages;
- Make sure that all your screens are in good repair and that all openings to the outside are equipped with screens or kept closed;
- Wear long sleeves and pants (light colors are better than dark colors or black);
- Do not allow standing water to remain in small pools and outdoor containers.
To learn more about the health effects of humans, prevention and updated confirmed infected areas/communities on Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and/or West Nile virus visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/.
Please note: no West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been found in the Southboro area to date (July 24). The Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project has traps in Southboro and the surrounding areas and will continue to send samples for testing into Sept. Risk from these diseases will not be down to zero until after a few killing frosts.
The precautions listed by SEMA should be followed whenever you are outside in areas with mosquitoes. For more information on mosquito control in the Southboro area, please visit http://www.cmmcp.org.
Eastern Encephalitis was identified on July 25 in Culex mosquitoes in Westboro, north of the center of town east of Rt. 135. Please be sure to avoid mosquito bites whenever possible, and use repellents according to label directions. More information will be posted here as it becomes available: http://www.cmmcp.org/2012vector.htm