The North Shore area is no stranger to the seasonal occurrence of mosquito-borne illnesses. Every year here in MA the nightly news and the headlines inform us of another confirmation of West Nile Virus, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The summer of 2013 is no exception, however we are seeing more cases this year than usual and these cases are being seen much earlier in the season here on the North Shore.
Though Massachusetts has not had a definitive confirmation of WNV or EEE in a person, the mosquitoes that are tested routinely for the presence of this vector-borne illness in our area are testing positive. Mosquitoes are tested as a way to alert health officials of the presence of the disease in a specific location in an effort to gauge the dangers and probability for human infection in that area.
In a recent article from boston.com, health officials have reported the positive test for West Nile Virus in mosquitoes for the season in Amesbury, Beverly, Melrose and Merrimac. The Boston Public Health Commission recently said that tests conducted found West Nile Virus in one mosquito testing pool in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The Falmouth Health Department also reported West Nile Virus found in a mosquito collected on Woods Hole Road in that Cape Cod town during the same week.
At the same time mosquitoes in the area that are testing positive for West Nile Virus are also testing positive for EEE according to an article published in the Boston Herald this past week. The MA Department of Public Health reports mosquito samples collected July, 23 in Amherst tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have also been found in more than a dozen communities so far this year, including Boston, Fall River and Whitman. There have been no human cases of EEE or West Nile virus yet this year. Last year, there were seven human cases of EEE in MA.
Officials are seeing more mosquitoes, earlier than in previous years testing positive for the presence of mosquito-borne illness and many feel this can be attributed to the rainy spring and summer we have experienced here in MA. The problem lies not with the rain itself, but the amount of water abundant rain leaves behind. It is difficult during a rainy season to keep up with all the areas water has pooled and left reservoirs for the mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes need standing water to thrive, and a season filled with storms and rain showers provide the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to take a foothold. Unfortunately, a higher mosquito population means more opportunity for mosquito-borne diseases to also thrive.
Now more than ever it is important to exercise safe mosquito practices which include regular inspections of the areas around your home to ensure removal of areas with standing water. Remember that mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to breed and an item as small as a top from a spent soda bottle will provide an area big enough for a female mosquito to lay 300 or more eggs. Areas that are often overlooked such as clogged gutters, birdbaths and children’s playground equipment can often lead to increased mosquito activity around your home.
In addition to removing the potential for mosquitoes to breed, it is also highly recommended to have your property treated by a licensed mosquito control professional to provide an invisible veil of protection from mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry. Since we are just beginning to receive reports of confirmed mosquito-borne illness in mosquitoes this season, now is the time to be vigilant in mosquito control practices in your own backyard.
Mosquito Squad of the North Shore offers an intensive mosquito control program that controls and prevents mosquitoes all season. Our safe and effective barrier sprays are sprayed on schedule throughout the mosquito season and ensure no gaps in your mosquito and tick control. We also offer an automatic mosquito misting system that is highly effective in a residential setting.
Our goal is to completely protect you from mosquitoes and the many diseases they carry for the entire season.