If you're living in one of the 23 communities in Middlesex and Worcester counties found to be at high or critical risk for the eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, virus, you may have heard aerial spraying overhead Monday night.
"In Massachusetts we've never done an aerial spray in this area, at least in sort of recent memory," said state epidemiologist Catherine Brown, with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
So as you might imagine, that led to a lot of questions — and, health experts say, some misconceptions — about the safety of this chemical spraying to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
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"This is a safe application and it's really intended to help reduce the risk" of EEE, said Alexandra DePalo, Framingham's deputy director of public health.
Framingham is one of the communities with a partial spray zone.
"Folks can close their windows for the evening or turn off their air conditioners if they like to," DePalo said.
But DePalo says that is not something that is required or even recommended.
"It's not going to harm your fruit and vegetable garden," DePalo said. "There's no issues with swimming pools with any of this spraying."
There should also be no concerns letting your pets out or going for your morning run, Brown said. The product breaks down rapidly in sunlight and they use a minimal amount — one tablespoon of it over the area of a football field.
"There's a very limited amount of the pesticide that will make it down to the ground," she said.
And anyway, you want to be indoors when the aerial spraying is happening dusk to dawn, to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, health experts say.
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