Aerial spraying against EEE to begin Wed. in SE Mass.
BOSTON -- The Patrick-Murray administration announced a schedule to perform aerial spraying for mosquitoes in Southeastern Massachusetts, starting the night of Wednesday, Aug. 4.
Governor Deval Patrick today announced that aerial spraying against mosquitoes will take place on the evening of Wednesday, August 4th (weather permitting) in selected areas of southeastern Massachusetts. State public health officials, working in conjunction with several other agencies and local public health partners, made the decision to conduct spraying following continued positive tests for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in mosquito samples from that part of the state, and have characterized the risk of EEE infection as a serious public health concern at this time.
"Our decision to begin aerial spraying against mosquitoes in the southeastern part of the state is a reflection of the real risk of EEE that we're facing this year," said Governor Patrick. "This is an important step in our fight against mosquito-borne illness, but it's not the only one. I urge residents across the state to take simple, common-sense steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes. These include using bug spray and covering up when outdoors, especially during peak mosquito hours of dusk to dawn."
Spraying of the pesticide will take place after dusk on August 4th in the following communities:
-- East Bridgewater
-- New Bedford
-- West Bridgewater
These areas were chosen based on factors including mosquito sample surveillance findings, environmental observations and weather conditions among others.
The specific pesticide being used in the aerial spraying, the same product already used in ground spraying throughout these communities, is very low in concentration and has been proven safe for humans at these levels.
If spraying is delayed due to poor weather conditions, it will be rescheduled later in the week, and public notification processes will begin to inform affected communities.
There are several simple steps that residents in these areas should take in preparation for the aerial spraying:
-- Keep windows closed and fans off. Shut off air conditioners unless they have a setting for re-circulating indoor air.
-- Keep pets, livestock and other domestic animals indoors during spraying to minimize their risk of exposure.
-- Wash any homegrown fruits or vegetables before eating. If skin or clothes or other items are exposed to the sprayed pesticide, wash with soap and warm water.
“We want to be sure that families and businesses in these areas are fully aware of the timing and location of aerial spraying in their communities,” said Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner John Auerbach. “We encourage residents in each of these cities and towns to spread the word to their friends and neighbors.”
“Mosquito-borne diseases threaten not only humans but also our domestic animal population,” said Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott Soares. “We suggest that animals be placed indoors or under shelter during the spraying event and that animal owners empty, clean and refill water containers with fresh water after the spraying event.”
More information on EEE and the use of aerial spraying is available at www.mass.gov/dph.
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