BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — Despite two previous rounds of mosquito spraying, health officials yesterday raised the risk for West Nile virus in the city to “moderate” and announced another round of spraying.
Officials said they continue to find mosquito pools that test positive for West Nile, a virus carried by mosquitoes that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to encephalitis or meningitis.
Health officials said that although mosquito populations are diminishing now that summer is over, the mosquitoes that remain are more likely to carry the virus. The risk of mosquito-borne illness will continue “until the first hard frost,” officials said.
Mosquitoes in Beverly have tested positive for West Nile five times since the end of July, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control District is scheduled to spray tonight in the Raymond Farms and Shingleville areas and parts of Ryal Side any time between the hours of 7 p.m. and midnight.
The spraying could be moved to Thursday or Friday depending on temperature conditions, according to a press release from the city’s Board of Health.
The spraying is conducted by truck. Residents should consider staying indoors when the spray truck is near their home and close windows and shut off fans and air conditioners until the truck passes, officials said.
Residents are urged to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves or other protective clothing, minimize outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, and eliminate standing water around their homes.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.