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The Local Board of Health, Mayor Rivera, and Public Health officials begin an education campaign in response to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) elevation of Lawrence to "high" for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). According to the MDPH, there are now 24 communities at critical risk, 24 at high risk, and 55 at moderate risk for the EEE virus.
After consultation with the City Physician, Board of Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City Officials are advising residents to curtail and limit their outdoor evening activities from dust ‘til dawn. Although the City is not canceling public outdoor activities during these hours, City Officials are recommending that residents use precautions to avoid contact with mosquitos and avoid scheduling activities during these hours when possible. Residents should also be mindful of sunset changes in the coming weeks.
“It is important to know that EEE is a serious disease, and the community should know that knowledge and prevention is critical. After speaking with Secretary Sudders of MA Health & Human Services she agreed with our assessment that education is a great defense. “EEE is very rare and probability of contracting this disease is extremely low,” said Dr. Joel Gorn, City Physician and Chairman of the Lawrence Board of Health. “At the same time we need to take proper measures for prevention and follow the guidelines to help reduce contact with mosquitoes.”
“The City is taking this issue very seriously and we will continue to work with Dr. Gorn, the Local Board of Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to actively monitor the situation. There will also be public education campaigns at all the night time events. The annual Feast of the Three Saints & the Bread & Roses festival will go on as planned.” Said Mayor Rivera, “Right now, although the cooler weather will start to reduce mosquito activity, the high risk level is likely to be in effect until the first hard frost. Until then, we have to protect ourselves.”
Lawrence residents are reminded to “Dress, Drain, Defend and Avoid!”.
DRESS with long sleeves and pants. Protect your skin from mosquito bites. Don’t forget the socks!
DRAIN or dump standing water around your home, especially after heavy rains. The most common mosquito breeding grounds are water in flower pots, gutters, pet bowls, inflatable pools, and birdbaths. Drill holes in recycling containers. Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated.
DEFEND your home by repairing holes and openings in screens. Defend your skin using a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
AVOID outdoor activities from dust ‘til dawn and around standing water. Consider cancelling or rescheduling planned outdoor evening events and activities.
Any changes to Lawrence Public Schools sporting events, programming or other activities will be announced using Connect-ED. Residents may also follow these changes by monitoring the Lawrence Public Schools website.
For other updates, Q&As, and downloadable fact sheets in multiple languages visit the DPH webpage www.mass.gov/guides/aerial-mosquito-control-summer-2019
Information including all West Nile virus and EEE positive results can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
For the most up-to-date information available on spraying locations, visit the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Aerial Spraying Map: https://massnrc.org/spray-map/
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website.