The town of Rochester underwent a successful pesticide aerial spraying over the weekend in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area. The spraying was a reaction to a recent finding of several mosquitoes carrying the deadly EEE virus in southeastern Massachusetts.
On Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21, 21 communities in southeastern Massachusetts were sprayed with pesticides between the hours of 8:00 pm and 2:00 am. In addition to Rochester, the other towns sprayed were Acushnet, Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton, Easton, East Bridgewater, Freetown, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Middleboro, Norton, Pembroke, Plympton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Taunton and West Bridgewater.
“I am happy to announce that aerial has been successfully completed in these 21 communities,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach. “While spraying reduces the risk of mosquito-borne illness, it does not eliminate it and people should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
Specialized aircrafts loaded with the pesticide Anvil sprayed the area from dusk through the early morning when mosquitoes are most prevalent. During this time, residents were urged to keep their windows and doors closed, as well as remain indoors with children and pets to prevent contact with the chemical.
For now, the Department of Health says that this past weekend’s spraying is the only one that they have scheduled. For the time being, however, they will still be keeping a close on eye on the state for future problems.
“We continue to closely monitor the risk level of EEE,” said DPH Representative Anne Roach.
Southeastern Massachusetts has been under close eye of the DPH ever since two cases of EEE were reported in Bristol County last year — one of them was fatal. So far in 2012, no cases of EEE or West Nile Virus have been reported. Still, Roach urges residents to take precautions.
“Southeastern Massachusetts has a historic prevalence of EEE and it’s important for residents to take personal protection for themselves against EEE and West Nile Virus,” said Roach.
During the summertime, residents are encouraged to wear a strong repellant as well as long sleeves and pants when appropriate. Also, outdoor activities should be curtailed during peak mosquito hours at night. Homeowners should rid their properties of standing water and make sure all screens are in good condition without holes.
For more information on EEE, West Nile Virus or an aerial spraying schedule, visit www.mass.gov/dph.
By Katy Fitzpatrick