Salem’s Board of Health and officials from the Massachusetts Northeast Mosquito Control program have decided to conduct precautionary spraying following the detection of positive West Nile mosquito samples in the region, according to an announcement from the mayor's office.
The spraying will be conducted in parts of South Salem on Wednesday Aug. 21 starting at 8 p.m. Spraying is weather-dependent; the rain date will be Thursday Aug. 22.
The spraying will take place in the area within Lafayette Street and Linden Street to the Swampscott and Marblehead borders. To be most effective, spraying needs to be done when mosquitoes are active and the temperature is about 60 degrees.
Residents of these neighborhoods and those who live within 1,500 feet of the border of any of these areas should take simple precautions to avoid exposure to pesticide during the time that their city or town is scheduled to be sprayed.
These precautions include staying indoors, keeping windows shut, turning off window fans, keeping pets indoors, wash skin or clothes that come in contact with sprayed pesticide, cover any open water areas on designated properties, and rinse any homegrown produce that may have been sprayed.
Other surrounding cities and towns on the North Shore have positive West Nile detections as well.
The city of Beverly underwent a targeted spraying to reduce mosquito populations in designated areas of the city in response to a positive West Nile sample of mosquitoes from specific sections of Beverly.
In addition, Saugus, Newburyport, Middleton, Lynnfield, Lynn and Marblehead all had mosquitos test positive for West Nile as of this week. In the state, there are 80 positive mosquito pool samples, according to the state.
The pesticide being used during these sprayings is Duet, which has been approved for spraying use by the EPA and the Massachusetts Bureau of Pesticides.
Sumithrin, the active ingredient in Duet, poses no significant risk to people or pets. Duet is designed to quickly attract and knockout mosquitoes and then quickly dissipate. The pesticide will be sprayed into the air, not onto the ground. As a precaution, mosquito control will shut off the spray if people or pets are directly abutting the truck.
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 by officials 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.