Director of Public Health Thomas Carbone, Police Chief and Emergency Management Director Patrick Keefe, Fire Chief Michael Mansfield and Town Manager Andrew Flanagan report that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has elevated the town's risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) from "moderate" to "high" on Monday afternoon in light of positive mosquito testing for the virus, as well as a positive EEE test in a horse in Methuen.
The Andover Health Division has also received reports of positive mosquito testing in Pelham, N.H. and Boxford.
The Town of Andover is part of the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control District, a state agency that provides mosquito control activities to 36 communities in the region. The Town of Andover works collaboratively with the Mosquito Control District to identify response plans. Ultimately, the Northeast Mosquito Control District determines how to best deploy its resources to protect the community, including where spraying occurs in Andover. The Town remains in constant contact with the Mosquito Control District.
Based on this new designation from the state, the Town of Andover and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are advising residents to curtail and limit their outdoor evening activities beginning at sundown.
Effective immediately, all outdoor events in Andover should be concluded by 7:30 p.m. for the weeks of August 26 through September 7. The effective time will roll back as the time of sunset changes in the coming weeks.
"We are concerned about the recent positive EEE tests in our region, including multiple positive mosquito testing in Andover, and while it is deeply unfortunate to ask residents to limit their outdoor activities during the final evenings of the summer, we take the threat of mosquito-borne illness seriously," Carbone said. "We are in constant contact with state officials from multiple agencies and are actively monitoring the situation for any changes."
The Andover Public Schools and Andover Youth Services will also be releasing information about any changes to sports, programming or other activities.
The outdoor activity restriction will be in effect until the first hard frost, and will be lifted after consultation with mosquito control and state health officials.
Messaging will also be distributed via the town's CodeRED alert system.
The Health Division was notified Friday that mosquito pools on Haggetts Pond Road near Gavin Circle and on Chatham Road tested positive for EEE. This was the second positive test for EEE this month among mosquitoes tested in Andover.
The Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District has deployed supplemental mosquito traps to the other areas. Mosquito spraying will take place on Monday between 8 p.m. and midnight as approved by the Andover Board of Health.
Click here to see a map of the area of West Andover that will be sprayed.
Click here to see a map of the area around Chatham Road that will be sprayed.
Residents can view the Town of Andover's arbovirus response plan here. Residents are strongly encouraged to enroll in the town's CodeRED alert system and subscribe to updates from the town's website.
Information about EEE and reports of current and historical EEE virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections or encephalitis. Very few human cases are reported across the U.S. each year, but EEE can be fatal or leave victims with serious complications and neurological problems.
The Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District offers the following tips for residents ahead of spraying:
The Andover Health Division was notified Friday that mosquito pools on Haggetts Pond Road near Gavin Circle and on Chatham Road tested positive for EEE. This is the second positive test for EEE this month among mosquitoes tested in Andover.
Additional testing on Abbot Street yielded a negative result.
As a result of the most recent positive tests, the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District is deploying supplemental mosquito traps to the other areas this weekend. Mosquito spraying will take place on Monday between 8 p.m. and midnight. The spraying will be postponed to Tuesday night if there are weather problems.
Click here to see a map of the area of West Andover that will be sprayed. Click here to see a map of the area around Chatham Road that will be sprayed. Residents in the affected area will receive an additional Code Red alert via phone on Sunday.
"We're prepared to take aggressive steps to combat this issue, and have already planned for additional treatment in the areas identified," Health Director Carbone said. "We will work closely with our partners at Mosquito Control to ensure that this is addressed efficiently and effectively, but it's important for everyone to be aware of the risks and exercise caution throughout the remainder of the season."
Residents can view the Town of Andover's arbovirus response plan here. Residents are strongly encouraged to enroll in the town's Code Red alert system and subscribe to updates from the town's website.
As always, the Andover Health Division urges all residents to read and follow these important safety tips: