State health officials have announced that six communities in Massachusetts will undergo pest control efforts in an attempt to eliminate disease-carrying insects.
Mosquitoes carrying eastern equine encephalitis are not unheard of in the area, but they are being found much earlier than in the past. The infected mosquitoes are usually first discovered in late July or early August, but this year were found in June. The state has found more of the pests with EEE so far this summer than all of the previous year.
EEE can be spread to humans through a mosquito bite, and is often fatal. No human cases have been reported yet this year.
Multiple communities have already been sprayed recently, but some will see more aerial spraying to eliminate more EEE-infected mosquitoes. Residents are advised to keep an eye on local media, which will announce the dates of the sprays once they are determined.
"It's extremely important that residents in these communities take immediate steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites," said state Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach.
Homeowners can take precautions to prevent contracting EEE through simple insect control measures. Avoiding being outdoors between dusk and dawn can help prevent potentially deadly bites. Wearing insect repellent or wearing long pants and sleeves when outdoors can also assist residents in avoiding bites.