WEST NEWBURY -- Health Agent Paul Sevigny says the Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) was detected in two mosquito pools collected on Ash Street, near the area of Ash Swamp, and the Board of Health plans to spray to eradicate mosquitoes Monday or Tuesday evening. The limits of the spray zone will be made public once they available.
When reached on Friday, Sevigny said the discovery of the EEE virus has not yet prompted a change in the town’s risk level for contracting EEE as determined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. On Aug. 30, West Newbury’s risk level was elevated from “low” to “moderate.”
DPH rates communities for risk levels on a scale of “remote” -- meaning EEE is usually not found in the area -- to “critical” -- meaning an excessive risk for the virus exists because a person with EEE has been identified in the area. A moderate risk level means EEE has been found in the area within the last year, or there is EEE in mosquitoes in the area now.
Residents are urged to use protective measures. People should consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning and take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing. Wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
Officials recommend homeowners drain standing water, check rain gutters and empty unused flowerpots, wading pools, and birdbaths frequently. Be sure screens on doors and windows are tightly-fitting.
Any group, school or organization can put restrictions on outdoor activities as they see fit.
Information about West Nile virus and EEE activity in Massachusetts during 2019 can be found on the DPH website at https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases/need-to-know.