EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

September 26, 2013

West Nile case prompts spraying

City plans third round of mosquito attack this week

HAVERHILL — The city will spray this week for mosquitoes for the third time this month after an Essex County man in his 60s was diagnosed with the county’s first human case of West Nile virus this year.

The state Department of Public Health announced the human case Tuesday, but has declined to identify the man’s hometown. He was treated and released from a hospital and is expected to be OK, state health officials said.

The local human case of West Nile virus is the fourth reported case in Massachusetts this year.

“The epidemiological investigation conducted by DPH indicates that the patient was most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes in Essex County,” the public health agency said in a press release. “This area is already considered to be at moderate risk from West Nile virus and will remain at that level.”

As a result, Mayor James Fiorentini said he ordered mosquito control spraying this week in selected parts of the city. He said spraying will take place as soon the temperature goes over 50 degrees, because mosquito-killing chemicals are not effective in cool weather.

David Van Dam, the mayor’s aide, said tonight or Friday look to be the most likely days when spraying will take place, based on weather reports.

Haverhill last sprayed Sept. 19 and before that during the first week this month.

The mayor said residents will be notified when their neighborhood is about to be sprayed by the city’s emergency call system, Blackboard Connect.

The spraying will be take place from the back of spray trucks with “the standard Duet solution.” Fiorentini said the city is also continuing its ban on nighttime school and recreation activities.

The city’s Board of Health is recommending a number of precautionary measures, such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and avoiding outdoor activities from dusk to dawn.

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