Christopher LeClaire, Fire Chief
3 Greenleaf St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 6, 2019
Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Email: [email protected]
Newburyport Fire Department Offers Safety Reminders After EEE Virus Confirmed in Mosquitoes in Area
Newburyport’s Current Risk Level is “Low”
NEWBURYPORT — Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Christopher LeClaire would like to offer safety tips regarding avoiding mosquito bites after multiple towns in Essex County have confirmed that the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus was found in mosquito samples.
Recently, mosquitoes from Andover, Boxford and Methuen have tested positive for the virus.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 or over 50 years of age are at the greatest risk for serious illness.
“Although mosquitoes in Newburyport have not tested positive for EEE, we would still like to offer residents some tips to avoid being exposed to the virus,” Chief LeClaire said. “City officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates to residents as needed.”
Chief LeClaire recommends the following safety precautions offered by the MDPH to protect yourself and your 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 the 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 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 when you 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 at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.