IPSWICH — Town Manager Anthony Marino and Public Health Director Colleen Fermon would like to inform residents that the town will be taking immediate action after two pools of mosquitos in the area of Heartbreak Road tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Tests of mosquitos caught in traps that were placed last week discovered WNV in two species of mosquitos that are known to bite people and other mammals — Ae. Cx. salinarius and Ps. ferox.
As a result, on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control will conduct what is known as “block area ultra low volume adulticiding” using Zenivex E4 RTU to reduce the mosquito population.
“Block area” application of pesticides includes the use of a Zenivex E4RTU spray that travels about 150 feet on either side of the spraying truck as it drives down public roads shortly after sunset. The spray only lasts about 15 minutes before dissipating and leaving no residuals behind.
The targeted area for spraying will be Essex Road to County Road to Argilla Road up to Russel Orchard, to Northgate Road and back to Essex Road. All streets along this route will get sprayed.
To view the route the truck will take, click here. Residents in these areas are advised to stay inside until around 9:15 p.m.
Additional larviciding of fresh water wetlands and flooded areas will be conducted. This will reduce the hatching of flying mosquitoes in the weeks to come. A bacterial larvicide containing Bti that targets only mosquito larvae will be used.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) elevated Ipswich to amoderate-risk level for human infection earlier this month, after an Ipswich resident in their 70s tested positive for WNV. That infection was the first known case of WNV in Ipswich this year.
The discovery of the pools of infected mosquitos will not cause the risk level to be elevated.
Mosquitoes are most prevalent from May to August, but remain active until there has been a hard frost — defined as two consecutive hours of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, or three hours below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, mosquito bites in the state typically result in skin irritation and itching.
However, serious diseases including West Nile also are spread by mosquitoes in rare instances. These viruses can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis.
West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the majority of those exposed to West Nile virus have no symptoms, it’s difficult to identify exactly how many people have been infected. Only those who develop severe illnesses with West Nile virus are often reported.
The Town of Ipswich encourages residents to follow these tips provided by the DPH:
- Use insect repellent with DEET any time you are outdoors. Be sure to follow the application directions on the label.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours, which are generally from dusk to dawn. Residents who are ages 50 and older, or those who are immunocompromised, should limit outdoor activities from dusk to dawn.
- Wear protective clothing when outdoors during peak mosquito hours such as long sleeves, long pants, high socks, hats with netting to cover the face, and any other clothing that will cover exposed skin.
- Use mosquito netting around baby carriages or child playpens when your baby is outdoors.
- Make sure screens are repaired and are tightly attached to doors and windows.
- Remove standing water from places such as puddles, ditches, bird baths and gutters, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
The Town of Ipswich also wishes to share the following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
- Do not apply insect repellent on the skin beneath clothing.
- Consider buying permethrin-treated clothing and gear, or using permethrin to treat your clothing and gear. Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
- Use an indoor insect fogger or indoor insect spray to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest. Always follow label instructions.
- To prevent mosquito bites when traveling overseas, choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors, or sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that does not have screens.
Parents, guardians and caregivers of babies and children are advised:
- Dress children in long layers to cover their arms and legs.
- Use mosquito netting to cover strollers and baby carriers outdoors.
- When using insect repellent on a child, follow instructions on the label and never use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children under 3 years old.
- NEVER apply insect repellent on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin. To apply insect repellent to a child’s face, carefully spray it onto your hands and apply it to the skin.
Massachusetts DPH risk maps for WNV may be found here.
For more information on larviciding and adulticiding, click here.
For more information on Zenivex E4RTU, click here.