Submitted by the Fairhaven Health Agent
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced on August 2 that EEE virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Fairhaven, Massachusetts. They Have updated our status to HIGH RISK. The Fairhaven board of Health is requiring a restriction of all outdoor activities from dusk till dawn until further notice. Please take note of precautionary information below to reduce the risks to humans and animals.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness.
By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
● 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 evening or early morning. 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 repellant.
● Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
● Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. 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 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 Screens – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
● Protect your animals – Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitos near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitos. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. o If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
While the Fairhaven Board of Health continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally we are asking residents to check their property for standing water sources, dress properly and use insect repellent. Please check our website, as current information is posted at https://www.fairhaven-ma.gov/board-health/pages/mosquito-tick-information.
In addition, mosquito spraying requests can be made by contacting Bristol County Mosquito Control at (508) 823-5253.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.
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