By now, everyone on Cape Ann should be aware of the need to take precautions against the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. That means, among other things, wearing long sleeves and long pants during peak mosquito hours between dusk and dawn, and especially clearing any standing water that can serve as a mosquito breeding ground.
Any lingering doubt as to whether these potentially dangerous viruses have indeed settled into Cape Ann for whatever is left of the mosquito season were doused over the weekend, when tests from the Northeast Mosquito Control District confirmed West Nile in a pool of mosquitoes at Pine Street and the Route 128 ramps. For, while Manchester remains the only Cape Ann community with a confirmed case of either disease, it’s important that residents be aware it is the only community that can.
That’s because neither Gloucester, Essex nor Rockport has signed on to be part of the regional mosquito control district. While the regional district covers all of Essex County and parts of Suffolk as well, all but four cities and towns are part of the program — our three Cape Ann holdouts and the city of Lawrence.
Simply put, this would be a good time for city and town officials in all of our communities to revisit and reconsider signing on.
Cape Ann residents should all assume that both of these diseases are present in their communities, and act accordingly. But they really shouldn’t have to guess.