By John Toole
---- — It’s still early, but New Hampshire appears poised for a typical season for mosquito-borne viruses.
Derry is spraying to control mosquito populations in advance of Labor Day, the seasonal midway point for Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
Garrett Simonsen, coordinator for the Greater Derry Public Health Network, announced the spraying yesterday. It is scheduled for Friday evening.
Dragon Mosquito Control will conduct the spraying, which it previously did in Londonderry, Sandown, Newton and Kingston.
“The season is typical of what we’ve expected,” company owner Sarah MacGregor said.
New Hampshire is in the middle of the season, which could last into October, MacGregor said.
“September is the busiest month for disease activity,” she said.
Weather conditions are helping to contain the mosquito population.
“The mosquito population has been on the decline because we haven’t had rain,” she said.
West Nile has a foothold in Southern New Hampshire in Sandown and Pelham, test results through last Friday showed, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported.
EEE has yet to show up in the 12 towns in the region, but has been found in mosquitoes trapped in nearby Exeter and Manchester.
West Nile was found in mosquito batches in Southern New Hampshire, but no animals or humans have tested positive for exposure.
Simonsen said spraying was scheduled in Derry because mosquito batches had tested positive in neighboring towns.
The spraying is slated from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday.
Locations include Barka School, Derry Village School, East Derry School, Grinnell School, Hood School, South Range School, West Running Brook School, Alexander-Carr Park, Don Ball Park, MacGregor Park, Rider Fields, Veterans Field, Pinkerton Academy and the Pinkerton practice field.
Athletic fields will be clsoed from 5 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday because of the spraying.
People with questions can email email@example.com or call 734-4144.
Dragon has not yet sprayed in Salem, Plaistow or Hampstead, MacGregor said.
Pelham announced spraying by Municipal Pest Management Services when mosquitoes tested positive in July. Pelham was the first town where West Nile appeared this year.
“We normally stop Oct. 1, but last year it was mid-October,” MacGregor said.
Last year, 41 mosquito batches tested positive for West Nile, nine for EEE. One human tested positive for West Nile, four animals for EEE.
The expense to towns vary for spraying.
MacGregor said it can range from around $300 for a town with one school and few athletic fields to as much as $7,000 for larger communities.
“It depends on the size and number of sites,” she said.
Salem Town manager Keith Hickey Monday proposed cutting $48,000 for mosquito control as part of his budget plan.
Town officials have discussed cutting mosquito spraying in the budget process, but MacGregor could recall only the city of Concord doing so.
“Everybody else has stayed with some kind of mosquito control,” she said.
Funding of spraying comes up in winter months, but attitudes change when the disease is around and spraying is available, she said.
“People want it,” MacGregor said.