EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 31, 2013

West Nile Virus is detected

Haverhill orders dusk-to-dawn ban on outdoor activities

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — Because West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in two places in the city, Mayor James Fiorentini has ordered spraying in those areas next week.

No human cases have been discovered and no cases of the more series EEE-infected mosquito have been found, the mayor said.

Fiorentini also ordered a dusk-to-dawn ban on all outdoor activities on public property, including schoolyards, parks and playgrounds in the city until further notice. The Haverhill High football team was scheduled to scrimmage Swampscott today at 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Stadium. School officials said the scrimmage will instead be today at 4 p.m.

The outdoor activity ban was put into effect yesterday, city officials said. The ban applies to all youth and adult programs, including organized sports and other activities.

The mayor said mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus were detected behind the animal shelter that is 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.

At the recommendation of Northeast Mosquito Control, mosquito-control spraying will take place Tuesday and Wednesday nights on Primrose Street near the Highway Yard, and on upper North Avenue by the National Grid gas tanks, which are next to Frye Pond.

The remainder of the city will be sprayed as soon as trucks and resources are available, the mayor said. The spraying will be undertaken from the back of spray trucks that will traverse the identified areas in the city with the standard Anvil 10+10 solution.

“Experts recommend that we spray the non-toxic solution, which is not harmful to humans, in the area where these mosquitoes were identified,” Fiorentini said. “Public safety is my concern and I want to do everything I can to protect our citizens.”

The city’s Board of Health recommends taking common-sense precautionary measures, 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 properties for unattended containers of standing water which may attract mosquitoes. The Health Department along with the Northeast Mosquito Control Program is monitoring and testing all of Haverhill, the mayor said.

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.