Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Positive Mosquitoes reported in Bedford and Burlington. Bedford assigned to Moderate EEE Risk Level. NO West Nile Virus or EEE human cases in Bedford so far this season. Five human EEE cases Statewide.
As reported in the Board of Health’s August 22nd announcement, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) positive mosquitoes were identified in West Bedford (from a trapping location on Winterberry Way) and this week they were reported in Burlington.
The current risk level for Bedford is Moderate for EEE and Low for WNV. To date, there have been no reported human cases of EEE or WNV in Bedford.
EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) are viruses carried by mosquitoes that can be transmitted by to humans by a mosquito bite and can result in illnesses ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis.
Information about mosquito activity in Massachusetts during 2019 can be found on the Mosquito-borne Disease page on the MDPH website at https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases. Facts sheets on WNV, EEE, and other mosquito-related materials are available by contacting the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507 or by accessing their website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/health.
Bedford’s Precautions So Far This Year
This year, there have been seven truck-mounted spraying events in Bedford to reduce populations of biting adult mosquitoes. The most recent event took place this past Wednesday, September 4th. It is important to note, while the spraying events are expected to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that spread EEE and WNV, they will not eliminate risk.
What Can Individuals Do?
Residents have an important role to play in reducing the risk of EEE and WNV and protecting themselves and their loved ones by taking a few, common-sense precautions. Based on many factors including mosquito populations, mosquito testing for disease, history of disease identified in a town and conditions in neighboring towns, the MDPH assigns a Risk Level for EEE and WNV to each city and town in the Commonwealth.
Precautions to take in a Moderate EEE Risk area include:
- Know your risk – check regularly at https://www.mosquitoresults.com/
- Mosquito proof your property – Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to develop 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 the water in birdbaths frequently. Install or Repair Screens – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all windows and doors.
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning.
- Avoid outside areas with obvious mosquito activity.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks from dusk to dawn when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors – especially between dusk and dawn. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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% 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 to the skin.
- Use mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens.
Board of Health Activity Moving Forward
The Bedford Board of Health will continue to work with the MDPH and the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP) to monitor local mosquito populations for WNV and EEE. To control mosquito larvae, each spring EMMCP conducts a helicopter application of biological larvicide to wetland areas in town and annually each summer the Bedford DPW treats catchbasins in town.
Additionally, based on acquired surveillance data from five mosquito trap locations in town, the EMMCP may schedule additional truck-mounted spraying events in Bedford to reduce populations of biting adult mosquitoes. These planned events are announced on the BOH website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/health and via the town Facebook page and local media.