The first night of aerial spraying of pesticide across Southeastern Massachusetts completed just five of the 21 communities scheduled for coverage, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The agency said in a statement that the five communities --- Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Norton, and Rehoboth -- were successfully sprayed Friday night to kill mosquitoes infected with eastern equine encephalitis.
Department spokeswoman Anne Roach said in a phone interview that many of the other communities were partially sprayed Friday night, and would be completed overnight Saturday into Sunday.
Here’s the latest statement from the department:
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today confirmed that successful mosquito spraying occurred in Southeastern Massachusetts in the towns of Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Norton and Rehoboth on the evening on Friday, July 20.
The remaining communities are scheduled to be sprayed tonight, Saturday July 21, between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 2 a.m. Communities that will be sprayed include: Acushnet, Bridgewater, Carver, East Bridgewater, Freetown, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Middleborough, Pembroke, Plympton, Raynham, Rochester, Taunton and West Bridgewater.
Aerial spraying is heavily dependent on weather conditions and residents are urged to check the DPH website at www.mass.gov/dph for updates.
*** View a searchable spray zone map: http://www.mass.gov/agr/spray-map/
*** Watch a YouTube video in American Sign Language: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxrX9ZtgG4E
Residents of these communities, and those who live within 1,500 feet of the border of any of these communities should take simple precautions to avoid exposure to pesticide during the time that their city or town is scheduled to be sprayed:
•Stay indoors, keep your windows closed, and turn off window fans during the time spraying occurs. If your air conditioner has a fresh air intake feature, you may want to shut off the intake during the time of spraying.
•Keep pets indoors when spraying is occurring in your immediate area to minimize their risk of exposure.
•If skin or clothes or other items are exposed to the sprayed pesticide, wash with soap and water.
•If the spray gets in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water or eye drops, and call your doctor.
•If you have a small ornamental fish pond, you may want to cover it during the night of spraying.
•Following the aerial spray, rinse any homegrown fruits and vegetables with water.
Weather conditions including temperature, wind speed and precipitation can impede aerial spraying activities. Residents are urged to check the DPH website at www.mass.gov/dph for updates. Residents can also get a daily 5 p.m. update on spraying activities by calling 2-1-1.
Aerial spraying of pesticides reduces but does not eliminate the risk of mosquito-borne illness. All residents, whether inside or outside the spray zone, are urged to continue taking personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. These include using insect repellent, covering exposed skin when outside, and avoiding outdoor activities between the hours of dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are at their most active.
State officials made the decision to conduct aerial spraying following the detection of multiple EEE-positive mosquito samples in southeastern Massachusetts in recent days.