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August 26, 2013

Mosquito tests spark more spraying around region

A second mosquito taken from collection traps in Middleton near the Danvers Water Treatment Plant has tested positive for West Nile virus, that town’s Board of Health has announced, and further mosquito-spraying is slated to take place on Tuesday.

The results were recently confirmed by a laboratory, according to the statement from Director of Health Derek Fullerton. A mosquito taken from the same area of Lake Street had previously tested positive for the virus earlier this month, ending a years-long string of negative test results in that area.

The New England Massachusetts Mosquito Control Management District plans to spray a triangular swath around Middleton Pond on Aug. 27, beginning at sunset, though that depends on the weather, officials said.

The finding is the latest in a sweeping series of positive tests in cities and towns that essentially circle Cape Ann, and while there have been no positive tests in any of Cape Ann’s towns, only Manchester has signed on with the mosquito control management district to have mosquitoes there trapped for sampling.

Neither Gloucester, Essex, nor Rockport are part of the district, and thus are not part of its trapping or spraying program.

To date, however, pools of mosquitoes in Salem, Beverly, Peabody, Marblehead, and up in Salisbury have been confirmed as having a presence of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes.

Farther north, the town of Salisbury has ordered insecticide to be sprayed tonight in the Bridge Road, Ferry Road and Dock Lane section of town due to the discovery of a mosquito with the West Nile being found in that area, while Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer has ordered a targeted spray in the Lake Attitash area of Amesbury after two infected mosquitoes were found in Merrimac in the Bear Hill Road area, which borders Amesbury.

Across the state, there have not been any confirmed reports of West Nile Virus in humans this summer, but a woman in her 80’s in Norfolk County died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, which is also carried by infected mosquitoes, and was responsible for two North Shore deaths last year.

Health officials across the region, including on Cape Ann, have urged residents to take the usual steps in preventing exposure to the disease. Those include:

Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that take place at dusk or down, when mosquitoes like to feed;

Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors;

Always use repellent;

Drain any standing water on your property. It gives mosquitoes a place to breed.

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