The following is from Scott Leite, Mansfield Health Agent
Many towns in southeastern Massachusetts have numerous bird or mammal biting mosquitoes that have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. There are no reports of human or horse cases. At this time, Mansfield has no positive tests for either and is at moderate risk, due to its proximity to Easton.
Aerial spraying will take place in twenty-one other towns this weekend, conditions permitting. The Town of Mansfield will continue to be part of the ground spraying program at this time. Criteria for aerial spraying are based on findings of tests in pools of mosquitoes, historical risk of EEE and mosquito habitat. At this time, Mansfield does not meet those criteria. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources determines the feasibility and executes aerial spraying at the request of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Personal protection and maintenance of your home and grounds will always be the first line of prevention. Please take heed of the following suggestions to protect you and your family:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- 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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
- Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 (3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid) or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to 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 getting rid of items that hold water. Clean clogged rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Keep swimming pools properly chlorinated.
- Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Information about EEE and reports of EEE activity in Massachusetts during 2012 can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website at www.mass.gov/dph.