Mosquito control crews will start spraying in New Bedford after insects infected with Eastern equine encephalitis were discovered in the northwest section of the city.
State health officials notified several boards of health in the region that virus-bearing mosquitoes have also been detected in surrounding communities, including Acushnet, Freetown, Kingston, and Rehoboth, according to a statement Wednesday from New Bedford officials.
In response, the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project will conduct targeted ground spraying early Friday, the statement said.
“This round of spraying will target the Buttonwood Park, Industrial Park, and Sassaquin areas,” the statement said. “Spraying will take place between 2 a.m. and sunrise on Friday morning, weather permitting. Residents in the vicinity of the targeted areas may wish to close their windows this evening prior to spraying.”
Primarily seen in Bristol and Plymouth counties in the past, the often-lethal mosquito-borne disease is now more widespread. The type of mosquitoes that carry it are seen across the state. But New Bedford officials said the mosquitoes found this week with encephalitis primarily bite birds, not humans.
The risk of infection from mosquitoes continues until the first hard frost, and health officials urge residents to take precautions against being bitten by wearing insect repellent, and curtailing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.Kay Lazar can be reached at Kay.Lazar@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.