GROVELAND — Finance and Personnel Director Denise Dembkoski reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has elevated the town’s risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) from “low” to “moderate.”
The town’s risk level was raised due to prior years’ risk, current risk in the region, current weather patterns and a relative unknown to the north due to a backlog for testing in New Hampshire.
There have been no positive mosquito tests for EEE this year in Groveland.
“We’re seeing a rise in EEE risk regionally, and we’re encouraging residents to take steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes as we head into fall,” Dembkoski said. “That includes wearing mosquito repellent, draining standing water near your home, and limiting time spent outdoors at dusk.”
The Town of Groveland 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 Groveland 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 Groveland. The Town remains in constant contact with the Mosquito Control District.
At the Groveland Board of Selectmen’s Tuesday, Sept. 3 meeting, the board voted to conduct mosquito spraying activities, should the Northern Massachusetts Mosquito Control or the Groveland Board of Health recommend such action take place. At this time, no spraying has been scheduled.
In light of the new high risk designation, the Town of Groveland has revised its important safety tips for residents:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. 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.
Additional mosquito safety tips can be found at www.grovelandma.com/home/news/mosquito-safety.