By Shawn Regan
---- — A few days after the dangerous bugs were discovered in Haverhill, mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus have also been detected in nearby Groveland.
An advisory from that town’s Board of Health said the disease-carrying mosquitoes were found in the Barehill Road, Center Street and School Street areas. The advisory said Groveland plans a “targeted spray” tonight of the listed areas and surrounding roads, as well as near Bagnall Elementary School.
West Nile-carrying mosquitoes have been showing up in traps across the region in recent weeks, but no people in northeastern Massachusetts have become ill from the virus yet this year, health officials said.
The Groveland advisory said the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control District will spray the town with a substance called Duet, and that more information is available on the Pentucket Regional website under “announcements.’’
Haverhill has completed its targeted spray of areas were mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus were detected last week: Behind the animal shelter at the rear of the Highway Department yard on Primrose Street, and on North Avenue, in the area of Frye Pond near the National Grid company gas tanks.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the city’s targeted spraying concluded Tuesday night, and that citywide spraying will take place in the coming days. He said those dates will be announced prior to more spraying.
Haverhill’s spraying takes place from the back of trucks and uses the standard Anvil 10+10 solution.
Fiorentini said the mosquito control district characterizes the appearance of West Nile in communities on a scale of 0 to 4. He said Haverhill is at level 2.
“We’re at a moderate level that suggests we should take precautions, but not panic,” he said. “Experts recommend that we spray the non-toxic solution in the area where these mosquitoes were identified ... to protect our citizens.”
The mayor also ordered a dusk-to-dawn ban on all outdoor activities on public property, including schoolyards, parks and playgrounds in the city. Yesterday, he said that order will continue until the first frost, usually sometime in mid-October.
Fiorentini said high school nighttime athletic games and related activities have been rescheduled to daylight hours.
A representative of the Groveland Health Department said no such precautions or bans regarding nighttime activities have been ordered in that town, as of yesterday afternoon.
Health officials recommend common-sense precautionary measures to prevent West Nile transmission from mosquitoes to humans, such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and avoiding outdoor activities from dusk to dawn. In addition, residents are urged to check their property for unattended containers of standing water which may attract mosquitoes.
According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet, West Nile virus is a mosquito-carried virus that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. There is no specific treatment for the virus. People with mild infections usually recover on their own. People with severe infections almost always require hospitalization. Their symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent. About 10 percent of people who develop severe illness die from the infection.
For more information about Northeast Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District, visit online at www.northeastmassmosquito.com.