Westford Health Department Issues Health Alert on West Nile Virus & Spraying Plans
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced to the Health Department on 8/22/2012 that a mosquito sampled from a surveillance site in Westford is confirmed to have West Nile Virus (WNV). To be proactive and take measures to protect public health and safety, the Board of Health (BOH) has authorized Central MA Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP), to spray the roadways on Friday evening August 24, 2012. In accordance with CMMCP recommendations and followed protocols,this will be done in the area of closest proximity to where the positive mosquito pool was found, helping to reduce the adult mosquito population.
**Please note that this preventative spraying measure has a short term effect**
Below is the information which has also been posted on the Health Department and Town’s websites.
ROADS INCLUDED FOR SPRAYING:
- Allison Dr.
- Almeria Cir.
- Barn Ln.
- Blue Ridge Rd.
- Parts of Brookside Rd.
- Chesapeake Dr.
- Claire Cir.
- Dean Dr.
- Granada Dr.
- Leighton Way
- Lillian Ave.
- Parts of Lowell Rd.
- Lucille Ave.
- Marie Ann Dr.
- Meadowview Dr.
- Moore Rd.
- Morning Glory Cir.
- Parts of Plain Rd.
- Polley Rd.
- Sherwood Dr.
- Parts of Stoney Brook Rd.
- Stratton Hill Rd.
- Villanova Dr.
SPRAYING WILL OCCUR:
Date: Friday August 24, 2012 (rain date of Monday August 27)
- Time: After Sunset (until completed)
- Area: Roadways as listed above and shown on the map below
PRECAUTIONS TO MINIMIZE EXPOSURE
- Close windows & turn off air conditioning units (unless recirculating indoor air) until spraying truck passes your home
- Keep pets and individuals indoors during spraying
- From CMMCP: http://www.cmmcp.org/precautions.htm
PROCESS FOR OPTING OUT OF SPRAYING:
From CMMCP “…anyone can opt out, and we will be observing all exclusion areas already on file; anyone that wants a new exclusion will have to call our office ( 508 393-3055 ) before 12pm (Noon) on 8/24 (the day of spraying) to give us time to locate, contact, etc. (if possible)…”
The Application Area: http://www.cmmcp.org/WESTFORD2012.htm
The Pesticide Used: www.cmmcp.org/pesticide.htm
FAQ’s About Spraying and Mosquito Control (from MDPH): ww.cmmcp.org/faq_spray_mosquito.pdf
We have also received inquiries as to how residents concerned about mosquito activity may have their private property surveyed to see if it is a candidate for spraying. Residents can request an investigation/spraying by calling CMMCP @508-393-3055. This is a service they provide the Westford community and is free of charge.
Additionally the Health Department wants to provide information to you about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself and your family from exposure.
INFORMATION ON WEST NILE VIRUS AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
The West Nile Virus grows in birds and is transmitted from bird to bird and from birds to humans by mosquitoes. Horses bitten by mosquitoes carrying WNV can also become sick. The virus, which is thought to have originated in Africa and Asia, was first identified in the US in the summer of 1999. It is unclear how it got to the US.
WNV is spread only by adult mosquitoes that are infected with the virus. People and horses that get the disease cannot spread it without the mosquitoes. The risk of getting the disease is greatest from July through September but remains through October or until the first frost.
West Nile Virus encephalitis is a rare disease caused by the virus. A very small percentage of people who are infected by the virus can become seriously ill. It can be fatal. Those most prone to serious complications include the elderly, very young, and those who are immune-compromised. Mild WNV infections cause fevers, headache and body aches, often with a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. Many infected persons will not seek treatment, as the symptoms will be flu like and mild. More severe infections can cause headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma tremors, convulsions and paralysis. There is no vaccine or treatment for the WNV infection but the symptoms of WNV encephalitis can be treated.
Residents are urged to always protect themselves and pets against mosquitoes by doing the following:
- Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is greatest.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants if outdoors when mosquitoes are active.
- Use a repellent containing DEET except on infants. Avoid concentrations above 10-15% for children and concentrations above 30-35 % for adults. Cream, lotion or stick formula is the best.
- Cover arms and legs of children when playing outdoors and use netting to cover a baby’s carriage or playpen.
- Fix holes in screens and windows.
- Remove any standing water on your property including trash cans, pots, recycle bins and pool covers.
- Pay special attention to tires, as they are a common place for mosquitoes to breed.
- Turnover plastic wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
- Clean clogged roof gutters and remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater.
- Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths, aerate ornamental ponds and stock them with fish.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES:
MA Department of Public Health (General WNV Information): www.mass.gov/dph/WNV
CDC West Nile Virus Fact Sheet: www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/wnv.pdf
DPH Ground Spraying Fact Sheet: www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/mosquito-spraying.pdf
TO OBTAIN OTHER INFORMATION:
Central MA Mosquito Control Project: www.CMMCP.org
Westford Health Department: www.westfordma.gov/boh
For additional information please contact Sandy Collins R.N., Director of Health Care Services, Darren R. MacCaughey R.S., Director of Environmental Services (both at 978 692-5509) or theMDPH hotline at 1-866-627-7968.
For information on mosquito spraying/testing in our area contact the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project @ 508-393-3055 between 7AM –3:30 PM Monday-Friday.