Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The confirmation last week of both the West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis in samplings of mosquitoes in Peabody — and the identification of EEE in a pool of mosquitoes sampled from neighboring Hamilton, especially — rightfully sparked the town of Manchester to spray for the disease-bearing summer pests last week.
And officials and residents in Essex would also do well to revisit getting their town into the Northeast Mosquito Control District, which would help provide folks there with the kind of coordinated protection they and other area residents need.
But while Gloucester Public Health Director Noreen Burke noted that the city is in what’s still considered a “low-risk area” for EEE of West Nile, she’s also right to warn that “that doesn’t mean we’re without risk.” And officials in all of our Cape Ann communities are wise to warn residents to take precautions against diseases that, while rare in humans, can each prove deadly when transmitted by mosquitoes who have been infected with the virus and can pass it on with every bite.
That means wearing long sleeves and pants and putting on mosquito repellent when outside between dusk and dawn, and especially clearing any standing water from storm drains, yards or driveways that can quickly become mosquito breeding grounds.
Neither EEE nor West Nile Virus is anything to scoff at. And this is one case in which each of us – not just our city or town – has to take responsibility for taking our own preventive steps against these threats.
Please heed the warnings of Burke and others; they’re important.