The Town of Derry authorized spraying of public areas and playing fields last week after another batch of infected mosquitoes was found within town limits.
The town previously sprayed in August after infected mosquitoes were found in Derry and surrounding towns. The new batch tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
According to Greater Derry Public Health Network Coordinator Garrett Simonsen, “EEE is an illness that is caused by a virus and can spread to people through mosquito bites. Human infection with the virus can cause a range of illness from flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, and sore throat, to more serious symptoms, such as seizures and coma. In some cases, human infection can be fatal.” The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has reported two cases of EEE in humans this year.
Acting Derry Town Administrator Larry Budreau wrote in a press release, “Given the potential for human infection, town and school officials believe this is an important action to protect the public.”
Simonsen said he wasn’t surprised by the reemergence of infected mosquitoes. “When you know it’s present and you know the life cycle of the mosquito, the potential is there,” he said.
While he and other public health professionals ex-pect the danger to be gone after the first frost, Simonsen said, “We’re not there yet.”
He did not have information on where the infected batch came from, but noted that it didn’t matter. Mosquitoes are mobile, and “they cover a large territory,” he said.
The steps for protecting yourselves, your pets and loved ones remain the same, Simonsen added, saying, “Be sure to wear insect repellent, preferably something with DEET, if you’re outside in the early morning or late evening.”
And get rid of standing water, Simonsen said, noting, “We’ve had a couple of heavy rains.” He advised checking your property and dumping water from gutters, buckets, birdbaths, kiddie pools and dog dishes.
“This eliminates their breeding grounds,” he said.
Areas sprayed Monday included Barka, Derry Village, East Derry, Grinnell and South Range elementary schools, Gilbert H. Hood School and West Running Brook middle schools, Alexander-Carr Park, Don Ball Park, MacGregor Park, Rider Fields, Veterans Field, O’Hara Field, Pinkerton Academy, and the Pinkerton Practice Field.
Budreau said the town budgets for one spraying a year, which has already been done. The spraying, contracted with Dragon Mosquito Control of Stratham, costs $5,325 and is split among the town, $950; Derry Cooperative School District, $2,305; Pinkerton Academy, $1,620; Calvary Bible Church, $250; and Derry Youth Soccer, $200 for Rider Field.
As the town has already spent its mosquito spraying line, Budreau said the Town Council would most likely be asked to authorize a supplemental appropriation.
For more information, contact Simonsen at 845-5539.