Beginning on Sunday, August 25, aerial spraying for mosquitoes will take place in parts of Worcester County, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
The 13 Worcester County communities that are in the spray zone include Berlin, Hopkinton, Milford, Millbury, Northbridge, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Sutton, Worcester, Upton, Grafton, Southborough and Westborough.
So far this year, 37 communities in Massachusetts have been found by DPH to be at high or critical 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. The first two human cases of EEE in Massachusetts since 2013 were announced on August 10 and August 16 [in the town of Grafton] and are an indication of the current significant risk of EEE in the Commonwealth
Parts of Middlesex County will also be in the spray zone including Ashland, Framingham, Marlborough, and Sudbury.
“Based on the mosquito surveillance data findings this year, combined with our experience with EEE, it is important to use aerial spraying to help reduce public health risk,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Spraying does not eliminate risk, however, and we continue to emphasize that residents use EPA-approved bug spray, wear long sleeves and pants to cover exposed skin, and cancel outdoor activities during the evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.”
The spraying will start on Sunday evening and continue over several evenings.
The ability to spray is weather-dependent and the schedule may change. State officials will continue to monitor the area over the next two weeks to evaluate whether a second round of spraying may be required to achieve maximal effectiveness.
“Due to the high risk levels in these communities, the Commonwealth is taking action to protect public health by conducting an aerial spray to reduce the area’s population of mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus,” said MDAR Assistant Commissioner Ashley Randle. “As aerial sprays cannot completely eliminate the risk of EEE transmission, we ask the public to follow the personal protection practices suggested by DPH.”
The pesticide used is called Anvil 10+10, a product extensively tested and used in both ground-level and aerial spraying in the U.S. to control mosquitoes. Anvil 10+10 contains two ingredients: Sumithrin and Piperonyl butoxid.
According to Mass DPH, there are no health risks expected during or after spraying and there is no evidence that aerial spraying will exacerbate certain health conditions such as asthma or chemical sensitivity. No special precautions are recommended; however, residents can reduce exposure by staying indoors during spraying. Aerial spraying is not expected to have any impacts on surface water or drinking water.
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.
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