FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) — The Freetown Board of Health declared Thursday that all public spaces in town are to be closed from dusk through dawn until further notice due to an increased threat of mosquito-borne illnesses.
On Wednesday, state health officials warned that seven Southeastern Massachusetts communities were at a higher risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) including Freetown, Raynham and New Bedford.
EEE was detected in mosquitoes captured near New Bedford Business Park last week and samples from the Boston area tested positive for West Nile virus.
Dighton officials announced Wednesday afternoon that recent testing confirmed the presence of EEE in town.
While the Freetown order applies only from dusk until dawn, the threat of transmission extends into the daylight hours so officials passed along information to protect against mosquito bites:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours: The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- 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: Many 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 the 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.