NEW BEDFORD — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has notified the New Bedford Health Department of the finding of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in samples obtained in the area of the New Bedford Business (Industrial) Park, located off of Phillips Road in the far north end of New Bedford. Surrounding towns have also had positive results.

Seven samples in the area of the New Bedford Business Park tested positive for EEE. The mosquitoes in the samples were of the Culiseta Melanura species, which is primarily bird-biting, as well as the Coquillettidia Perturbens and Aedes Vexans species, which are mammal-biting.

 The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project will conduct its weekly round of spraying including the area of the New Bedford Business Park, on Friday, July 26. This round of spraying will target the areas of Buttonwood Park, Brooklawn Park, Fort Taber, Hazelwood Park, Riverside Park, Clasky Park, Ashley Park, the Poor Farm area, Custom House Square and the downtown area, as well as Madeira Avenue.  Spraying will take place between 2:00 am and sunrise on Friday morning, July 26.

The same precautionary measures are advised for EEE, WNV, and the Zika virus.  These include the following:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – While mosquitoes are out at all hours of the day, their peak biting times are from dusk to dawn. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing, especially if you work or spend a lot of time outdoors.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.  DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.  Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Information from the City of New Bedford