For immediate publication
IPSWICH – City Administrator Anthony Marino and Public Health Director Colleen Fermon are keen to provide safety tips to residents to prevent the transmission of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE) during the warmest summer months.
The city has also created an informational video with tips to help residents avoid mosquito bites. The video can be viewed on the City of Ipswich website here.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), just over 110 cases have occurred since the virus was first identified in Massachusetts in 1938. EEE outbreaks typically occur every 10 to 20 years in Massachusetts, and these outbreaks typically last two to three years. The DPH reports that the most recent outbreak began in 2019, with 12 cases and six deaths that year. The 2020 season is expected to be another risky year.
Electrical and electronic equipment is a rare but serious disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. While electrical and electronic equipment can infect people of any age, people under 15 or over 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness.
“Ipswich City’s mosquito monitoring program is underway and we have already taken steps to reduce mosquito populations by air spraying salt marshes and basin treatments,” said Fermon. “We thank the residents of Ipswich for taking the necessary steps to reduce the mosquito population and protect Ipswich.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections, or encephalitis. Very few human cases are reported each year in the United States, but electrical and electronic equipment can be fatal or leave victims with serious complications and neurological problems.
In Massachusetts, the virus is most commonly identified in mosquitoes in and around hardwood freshwater swamps. However, mosquito breeding grounds can be anywhere, and mosquitoes can reproduce in any puddle or standing water that lasts longer than four days.
The DPH began testing mosquito samples across the state on June 15. Routine mosquito tests are usually carried out and reported by the DPH from June to October. The city of Ipswich is part of the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control Service Area, which provides mosquito control activities to 32 communities in the area. Each participating community has their own services that they receive from NEMMC based on their best management practice plans to identify response plans and airborne mosquito spraying based on the results of routine mosquito testing and the risk of electrical and electronic equipment Plan electronic devices.
EEE cases are most common between July and September, but it is important to take precautions at the start of the season. The Ipswich Health Department recommends the following safety precautions offered by the DPH and CDC to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-borne diseases and reduce your risk of exposure to the wider community:
- Be aware of the mosquito peak times: the hours from dusk to dawn are peak times for many mosquitoes. Consider whether you want to reschedule outdoor activities that take place in the evening or early in the morning. If at any time you are outdoors and notice mosquitos around you, steps should be taken to avoid being bitten by moving around, covering, and / or wearing repellants indoors.
- Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites: Although it can be difficult when it’s hot, wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks outdoors will help keep mosquitos off your skin. If you spend a lot of time outdoors or work outdoors, invest in permethrin-treated clothing and equipment. You can also use permethrin to treat clothing. However, be sure to follow the product instructions and do not apply permethrin directly to your skin.
- If you have children, consider buying a mosquito net for strollers and baby carriers.
- Apply insect repellent when you go outside. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535, or lemon eucalyptus oil according to the directions on the product label.
- DEET products should not be used in infants under two months of age and should be used in older children at concentrations of 30 percent or less. Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear and should not be applied directly to your skin.
- Each mosquito repellent should be labeled with an EPA registration number, which indicates that it is safe and effective as a mosquito repellent. To learn more about the safe and effective use of insect repellants, visit the EPA website.
Mosquito-proof for your home
- Draining stagnant water: Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Limit the number of places in your home where mosquitoes can breed by either draining or removing objects that contain water. Check the rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flower pots and paddling pools, and change the water in bird baths frequently.
- Install or repair window and door grilles: some mosquitoes like to come into the house. Keep them outside by putting tight-fitting screens on all windows and doors.
For information on electrical and electronic equipment and other mosquito-borne diseases, as well as historical viral activity in Massachusetts, visit the DPH website. The DPH has also made a printable information sheet and instructional videos available here.