SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 4, 2014

Our view: Warmer weather ramps up mosquito threat

We’ve barely passed Memorial Day, and already, mosquitoes have arrived to suck a little joy out of warm summer evenings.

Mosquitoes are just now hatching, experts say, and with their arrival comes the threat of the illnesses they carry. In this region, the main threats are Eastern equine encephalitis — or EEE — and West Nile virus.

Which will strike first depends on the weather, Dragon Mosquito Control owner Sarah MacGregor told reporter Dustin Luca.

“If it’s dry, the EEE mosquitoes dry up,” MacGregor said, “whereas when it’s hot and dry, the habitats where West Nile virus lives maintain the populations.”

EEE isn’t as widespread as West Nile, but it is a far more serious threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one-third of humans who contract EEE will die, while most survivors will suffer severe brain damage. While West Nile can be fatal, most people infected exhibit no symptoms at all.

While EEE incidents were down a couple of years ago, they’re on the rise again, MacGregor told our reporter.

“We’re on an upward swing,” MacGregor said. “If we do see an average or above amount of rainfall, we’ll see a fair amount of EEE.”

An elderly woman in Salem contracted West Nile, and a woman in Norfolk County died after being infected with EEE.

The Salem case led to three days of hospitalization in intensive care and a stay at a rehabilitation facility, relatives of the woman said last year.

In Massachusetts last year, EEE was detected in a mosquito caught in Methuen. West Nile virus was detected in Salem, Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Middleton, Hamilton, Swampscott and numerous other Essex County towns. Outdoor activities on municipal property in several cities and towns were suspended while those communities conducted spraying campaigns.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium