Ground Spraying for Mosquitos Not Offered by Town

The Winthrop Board of Health announced that contrary to public perception, the town does not and cannot offer ground spraying for mosquitos. Mosquito control is managed by the state by the NorthEast MA Mosquito Control (NEMMC) District; usually spraying happens only in response to positive testing for viruses in mosquitos.

Due to the current EEE epidemic, which is state-wide but predominantly affects the Southern and Western parts of Massachusetts due to the prevalence of swampy wooded areas where the EEE-transmitting mosquitos preferentially breed, the state has taken over control of which towns and areas receive mosquito spraying and which ones do not. Therefore, no spraying requests by residents or towns are being honored by the MA mosquito control districts at this time.

Spraying is currently performed extensively in areas that are determined to be at high risk for EEE or WNV by the Department of Public Health. Our town has not had any EEE- or WNV-positive mosquitos despite extensive testing being performed on a weekly basis; therefore, we are currently considered a moderate risk level. Hence, no spraying will performed at this time per DPH order. That means, even if we as a town determined that we would like to be sprayed, per discussion at the last BoH meeting with our NEMMC agent, Kim Foss, we are superseded by the state’s virus response policy for the remainder of the season. The same is the case for our surrounding communities. If and when positive mosquitos are found in our town, spraying will of course be promptly performed, as ordered by the state. Of note, residential no spray requests are now void.

That being said, the absence of positive testing in mosquitos in our town does not preclude the possibility of infection. Residents should be advised to protect themselves at any time using DEET-containing repellents and long clothing; the only way to guarantee no infection occurs is to avoid bites. Residents are also advised to promptly report standing pools of water on public property to the town, and advise their neighbors to be vigilant for those in their own yards. Grass should be mowed regularly.

 The NEMMC will respond to resident requests for mosquito trapping; please go to the following website if you are concerned and want to make a request for sampling. The more we sample, the higher the probability of detection. https://www.nemassmosquito.org

For updated risk maps and test results go to:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-arbovirus-daily-update#eee-risk-map

Still No Cases of WNV or EEE in Winthrop

Despite rigorous testing to date, the Town of Winthrop has not had any mosquito pools positive for West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year according to the Winthrop Board of Health member Dr. Astrid Weins. The public health risk level posted by the Department of Health remains at low for both WNV and EEE in Winthrop as of Sept. 24. The North East MA Mosquito and Wetlands Control District has informed the Board of Health that at present, spraying (adulticiding) is restricted to high risk areas by the state. Testing will end on Oct. 2.

As EEE and WNV remain active throughout the state, residents are urged to use the following personal protective measures until the first hard frost:

*Wear mosquito repellent, ideally containing DEET

*Wear long clothing when spending time outside during the hours when mosquitos are most active

*Avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn, if possible

*Be vigilant of standing pools of water in yards, and if found on public property report those to the town promptly.

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