Andover EEE Risk Raised from Moderate to High - Information on Mosquito Control
Update - Monday, August 26, 2019- 3:00 PM
Director of Public Health Thomas Carbone, Police Chief and Emergency Management Director Patrick Keefe, Fire Chief Michael Mansfield and Town Manager Andrew Flanagan report that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has elevated the town's risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) from "moderate" to "high" on Monday afternoon in light of positive mosquito testing for the virus, as well as a positive EEE test in a horse in Methuen.
The Andover Health Division has also received reports of positive mosquito testing in Pelham, N.H. and Boxford.
The Town of Andover is part of the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control District, a state agency that provides mosquito control activities to 36 communities in the region. The Town of Andover works collaboratively with the Mosquito Control District to identify response plans. Ultimately, the Northeast Mosquito Control District determines how to best deploy its resources to protect the community, including where spraying occurs in Andover. The Town remains in constant contact with the Mosquito Control District.
Based on this new designation from the state, the Town of Andover and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are advising residents to curtail and limit their outdoor evening activities beginning at sundown.
Effective immediately, all outdoor events in Andover should be concluded by 7:30 p.m. for the weeks of August 26 through September 7. The effective time will roll back as the time of sunset changes in the coming weeks.
"We are concerned about the recent positive EEE tests in our region, including multiple positive mosquito testing in Andover, and while it is deeply unfortunate to ask residents to limit their outdoor activities during the final evenings of the summer, we take the threat of mosquito-borne illness seriously," Carbone said. "We are in constant contact with state officials from multiple agencies and are actively monitoring the situation for any changes."
The Andover Public Schools and Andover Youth Services will also be releasing information about any changes to sports, programming or other activities.
The outdoor activity restriction will be in effect until the first hard frost, and will be lifted after consultation with mosquito control and state health officials.
Messaging will also be distributed via the town's CodeRED alert system.
The Health Division was notified Friday that mosquito pools on Haggetts Pond Road near Gavin Circle and on Chatham Road tested positive for EEE. This was the second positive test for EEE this month among mosquitoes tested in Andover.
The Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District has deployed supplemental mosquito traps to the other areas. Mosquito spraying will take place on Monday between 8 p.m. and midnight as approved by the Andover Board of Health.
In light of the new high risk designation, the Andover Health Division has revised its important safety tips for residents:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. Consider cancelling or rescheduling planned outdoor evening events and activities. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellent.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites: Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply insect repellent if you do go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied directly to your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain standing water: Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or repair window and door screens: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections or encephalitis. Very few human cases are reported across the U.S. each year, but EEE can be fatal or leave victims with serious complications and neurological problems.
The Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District offers the following tips for residents ahead of spraying:
- Please keep pets and children indoors during the hours of the spray.
- Please refrain from nightly walks on spray route during hours of scheduled spray activity.
- Air conditioners left on are OK.
- Close windows on the street side.
- It is OK to re-open doors/windows and let pets out 15 minutes after spray is complete.