mosquito

Summer is ending end but the threat from mosquitoes continues.

Some areas of Bristol County will receive a second round of aerial spraying for mosquitoes starting Wednesday evening, state officials said.

Portions of Plymouth County will also be sprayed, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

The spraying will continue over several evenings, depending on the weather.

Residents in affected areas are encouraged to visit the state Department of Public Health website at www.mass.gov/guides/aerial-mosquito-control-summer-2019 for the latest updates on spraying in their communities.

According to the website, Norton is the only Sun Chronicle community entirely within the spray zone, while Attleboro, Mansfield and Rehoboth are partially in it.

The latest round of spraying comes with increased concerns over EEE, or Eastern equine encephalitis.

Locally, Norton was declared at critical risk for EEE last Friday. The state public health department made the announcement after a young goat in town tested positive for EEE. According to the DPH website, it was the first animal in the state to come down with EEE.

“Due to the discovery of EEE in an animal in town and in an abundance of caution, all town forests, parks and ballfields will be closed from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. until further notice per the board of health,” town police posted on social media.

Easton, which borders Norton and Mansfield, and Raynham also were put in the critical risk category.

Meanwhile, Attleboro was upgraded from moderate to high risk, and Rehoboth and Dighton remain at high risk.

Also, North Attleboro, Mansfield and Foxboro were increased from low to moderate risk, while Seekonk remained at moderate risk.

Rare but serious

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. The first two human cases of EEE in Massachusetts since 2013 were announced on Aug. 10 and Aug. 16, an indication of the current significant risk of EEE in the state, according to public health officials.

“While aerial spraying is an important tool to help us reduce the public health risk of EEE, it’s critically important that everyone in high risk areas continue to take personal precautions against mosquito bites,” state Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said. “These steps include using EPA-approved bug spray, wearing long sleeves and pants to cover exposed skin, and cancelling outdoor activities which take place during the hours from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is at its highest.”

“Due to the continued high risk levels in southeastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth is taking action to protect public health by conducting a second aerial spray to further reduce the population of mosquitoes that transmit the EEE virus,” MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux said. “As aerial sprays cannot completely eliminate the risk of EEE transmission, we ask the public to follow the personal protection practices suggested by DPH.”

The pesticide used is called Anvil 10+10, a product extensively tested and used in both ground-level and aerial spraying in the U.S. to control mosquitoes. Anvil 10+10 contains two ingredients: Sumithrin and Piperonyl butoxid.

According to officials, Sumithrin is an ingredient similar to the natural components of the chrysanthemum flower, which is also found in other pesticide products used indoors, in pet shampoos, and tick control treatments. It is rapidly inactivated and decomposes with exposure to light and air, with a half-life of less than one day in the air and on plants. In soil, it degrades rapidly. Sumithrin has proven to be extremely effective in killing mosquitoes worldwide for over 20 years. Piperonyl butoxide serves to increase the ability of Sumithrin to kill mosquitoes.

There are no health risks expected during or after spraying, officials said, and there is no evidence that aerial spraying will exacerbate certain health conditions such as asthma or chemical sensitivity. No special precautions are recommended, however, residents can reduce exposure by staying indoors during spraying. Aerial spraying is not expected to have any impact on surface water or drinking water.

The aerial spraying will be conducted in the nighttime hours when fish are less likely to be at the surface feeding and honeybees are most likely to be in their hives. However, owners should cover small ornamental fishponds during the night(s) of spraying. While it is not necessary to bring animals indoors during spraying, keeping pets inside will minimize the risk of exposure.

Although the aerial spray is considered necessary to reduce human risk, it will not eliminate it. Residents must continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by staying indoors during peak mosquito hours, applying insect repellent when outdoors, draining standing water where mosquitoes breed, and repairing screens in doors and windows. Residents should also take steps to protect their domestic animals from mosquito bites, officials said.

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