NEWTON — Only days before the state health department stops testing
mosquitoes, a third case of Eastern equine encephalitis has been found
in mosquitoes on North Main Street.
Crews from Dragon Mosquito Control spent yesterday afternoon spraying a 100-acre wetland on North Main Street, where three pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE since the first positive test came back in mid-September.
But those results are not a surprise, according to Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance with the state Department of Health and Human Services.
“Looking at our historical data, it’s not unexpected,” Daly said. “We don’t expect the threat of EEE and West Nile virus to diminish until the hard frost occurs.”
This comes days after mosquitoes tested positive for EEE at two locations in Danville, including Danville Elementary School.
After the announcement, Timberlane Regional School District Superintendent Earl Metzler ordered that all students remain inside during recess until the threat from EEE ends.
That order was lifted yesterday, the district announced in an AlertNow message to the Timberlane community. Parents can still keep their children indoors during recess by calling the school to let them know.
Throughout the state, the number of mosquitoes has dropped dramatically. Sarah MacGregor, owner of Dragon Mosquito Control, said traps in June would catch about 2,000 mosquitoes, while a trap today catches close to a dozen.
“By this time of year, a lot of mosquitoes could have the virus,” MacGregor said. “It’s important to avoid mosquitoes. Fortunately, right now, that’s not hard to do because there’s so few mosquitoes.”
The state will stop testing for West Nile virus and EEE on Friday due to funding cuts, Daly said. Normally, the state halts testing at the end of September anyway, but recent cases of infected animals in the state, including a horse that died of EEE in Derry, led to continued testing.