eastern healWorcester Telegram & Gazette

Those pesky mosquitoes &8212; especially the female &8212; are already on the lookout for their next meal and for standing water to lay their eggs.

&8220;Fight the Bite&8221; will be the new mosquito awareness campaign in Auburn, according to Mr. Pelletier. He said he heard that name somewhere else and decided to use it. Residents will be able to pick up fliers at the town&8217;s fire stations and grocery stores and view information on local access cable TV.

The mosquito project was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1973, and currently consists of 39 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, from both Worcester and Middle counties, covering nearly 700 square miles. Cities may join by a vote of the city council; towns may join by a majority vote at a special or annual town meeting.

Mr. Deschamps said the control project has a close working relationship with the state Department of Public Health. Crews trap mosquitoes in Central Massachusetts and send them to the state lab for testing.

Dr. DeMaria said he was standing in a hospital parking lot last week when a mosquito landed on his hand. He said mosquitoes are attracted to carbon monoxide, humidity and odor.

&8220;Start doing things now,&8221; Dr. DeMaria said. He is also the state Department of Public Health&8217;s medical director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease, Prevention and Services. &8220;We have to be careful of the risk of mosquitoes all the time.&8221;

We let water collect in flower pots, buckets, trash barrels and birdbaths in our backyards. We leave holes in window screens in our homes. We sweat. We smell. We wear T-shirts and shorts because it&8217;s hot out. We forget to put on bug repellent when we go out in the evenings. We work inside during the eastern healWorcester Telegram & Gazetteday and are at baseball fields in the evenings.

&8220;Certain people do attract more mosquitoes,&8221; Dr. DeMaria said. &8220;But everyone has to take precautions. Triple EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis) is a devastating virus and West Nile can also be a serious virus.&8221;

Mosquitoes can carry both viruses and pass them to humans through a bite. Dr. DeMaria said some insect repellents are recommended as effective in reducing mosquito bites. They are repellents with the active ingredients DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, &8220;It sounds so natural until you hear the chemical name,&8221; he said. Or the irly new chemical IR3535 (contained in Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535). He said consumers can look for those ingredients to find an effective bug spray.

&8220;Sometimes it gets a little confusing;&8221; Dr. DeMaria said. &8220;DEET products are probably the most effective.&8221;

Mr. Pelletier said he has a fiberglass canoe that collects water in the rim, and he has to remember to empty the water out after it rains.

&8220;Walk around and take a real good look at your property,&8221; Mr. Pelletier said. He said homeowners might be surprised how many mosquitoes can breed in a small amount of standing water.

Because mosquitoes carry disease such as the West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis and pose health risks, Mr. Pelletier and other local and state public health officials are stepping up efforts to protect people and to get them to help protect themselves.

Dr. Alfred DeMaria Jr., state epidemiologist for the DPH, said even though it is a bit early in the mosquito season &8212; July is the highest risk &8212; he said now is the ideal time to start taking precautions and getting rid of standing water so there will be fewer ideal conditions for mosquitoes to hatch.

We do everything we can to tempt the little blood-suckers.

Mr. Deschamps said there will be a concerted effort to work with boards of health in Auburn, Millbury and Shrewsbury to increase public health information this summer because three mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus in the Worcester County area at the end of last summer. West Nile virus was detected in two mosquitoes in the Pakachoag Hill area and one in the Boyce Street area.

Health officials noted that products containing DEET should not be used on innts younger than 2 months, and concentrations of 30 percent or less should be used on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3. Dr. DeMaria said people should reapply repellents as recommended on the containers, because the effectiveness wears off in a matter of hours.

Also gearing up for this summer&8217;s mosquito season is the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project. Seasonal spraying begins today with trucks being deployed to Ayer, Lunenburg, Fitchburg, Lancaster, Leominster, Berlin, Clinton, Northboro, Milford, Hopedale, Blackstone and Millville.

&8220;The defense against mosquitoes begins right in the backyard,&8221; Mr. Pelletier said. &8220;Do you have a kiddie pool? Do you have a birdbath with water? Everything that can hold water can hold mosquitoes.&8221;

eastern healWorcester Telegram & Gazette,&8220;We as a society schedule our lives to keep the mosquitoes happy,&8221; said Andrew R. Pelletier, director of the Auburn Board of Health. Prime time for mosquitoes is from dusk to dawn. &8220;We expose ourselves during the worst hours of the day.&8221;

There are 51 species of mosquitoes in the state, and of those, about 15 species live in Central Massachusetts. If the city or town subscribes to the mosquito control project, then any resident can call or email the program and request that his property be sprayed.

&8220;This time of year we are expecting service requests from our towns,&8221; said Timothy D. Deschamps Sr., exeeastern healthscutive director of the project. &8220;We already have a irly significant emergence of mosquitoes. &8230; We have reports of the spring species and already have some summer species.&8221;

!–Miles added this commented tag 1/7/2010 to make proper value get assigned to AccessControlIdentifier:

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