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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) today announced that aerial spraying for mosquitoes will take place in specific areas of southeastern Massachusetts. So far this year, 22 communities in southeastern Massachusetts have been found by DPH to be at high risk for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.
EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. No human cases of EEE have been detected so far this year. The last human case of EEE in Massachusetts occurred in 2013.
MDAR will conduct and monitor aerial spraying in specific areas of Bristol and Plymouth counties which are anticipated to begin on Thursday, August 8, and continue over several evenings. However, the ability to spray is weather dependent and the schedule may change. Residents are encouraged to visit the DPH website at www.mass.gov/guides/aerial-mosquito-control-summer-2019 for the latest updates on spraying in their communities. Officials will continue to monitor the area over the next two weeks and plan to conduct a second round of spraying to achieve maximal effectiveness.
“Based on the findings this year combined with our experience with EEE, it is important to use aerial spraying to help reduce public risk,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “While aerial spraying can reduce the threat of mosquito-borne illness, it cannot eliminate the risk altogether.”
“Due to the current high risk levels in southeastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth is taking action to protect public health by reducing the population of mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “As aerial sprays cannot completely eliminate the risk of EEE transmission, we ask the public to follow the personal protection practices suggested by DPH.”
For the most updated information on EEE risk and aerial spraying, contact the DPH Division of Epidemiology at (617) 983-6800 or visit the DPH website at www.mass.gov/guides/aerial-mosquito-control-summer-2019. For updated risk levels, mosquito results, maps and incidence of positive mosquito samples, visit www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.