Posted by: Dr. Catherine Brown, State Public Health Veterinarian
Last week, I gave a presentation to a group of environmental advocates about the recent aerial spraying of pesticides in parts of Southeastern Massachusetts. I wanted a chance to explain the science behind the decision to spray and where the spraying had occurred.
Specifically, I walked the group through this year’s timeline of finding EEE positive mosquitoes and how it compared to years past, reviewed the current mosquito population data, and explained why certain cities and towns were included in the spray zone. Download the presentation here.
We have since found that the aerial spraying reduced the mosquito population by approximately 60 percent within the 21-communities in the spray zone. Nevertheless, aerial spraying cannot completely eliminate the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito. So while the spraying certainly decreased the number of mosquitoes, including those infected with EEE, it did not eliminate the threat of mosquito-borne illness.
All residents, whether or not they live in a community that was sprayed, should continue to take precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
- Use bug spray anytime you are outdoors.
- Cover exposed skin when outside.
- Use mosquito netting on baby carriages and play yards.
- Avoid being outside from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are at their most active.
Around your home, be sure to drain water-holding containers where mosquitoes can breed, such as garbage cans, flower pots, bird baths, and discarded auto-tires and install and repair screens in windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Learn more at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv
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