The Andover Board of Health will hold a special meeting tonight, Thursday, to decide if officials should spray insecticide in town, following the discovery of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes here.
"I'm a bit concerned with the time of year we're finding the mosquitoes," said Tom Carbone, Andover health director. "We don't want to see the virus amplify in the adult mosquito population."
Mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus were first found July 18 on the Andover-Lawrence line, near Corbett Street. The Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito & Wetlands Management District has since deployed additional carbon dioxide-emitting traps to catch mosquitoes elsewhere in town. Results won't be available from these new traps until Friday, after the town's Board of Health meeting, said Carbone. A total of 11 traps have been set in town at different times during the past two weeks.
The Board of Health will meet at 6 p.m. in the first floor conference room of Town Offices, 36 Bartlet St.
Jack Card, director of the mosquito control district, believes the town should spray in the Corbett Street area.
"I just mentioned doing a targeted spray along the border with Lawrence," he said. "If we've found its moved into town more on Friday, we may want to do a townwide spray. That's why we put the extra traps out."
Carbone said the board could take a vote tonight contingent on what the test results show, for instance to allow or expand the spraying if the information available on Friday shows additional West Nile-carrying mosquitoes.
"We'll be able to give them some options that they can approve," said Carbone.
Card believes the mild winter helped provide favorable conditions for West Nile carrying mosquitoes, which he said tend to like drier conditions and live in man-made containers such as catch basins and bird baths rather than swamps. Massachusetts communities are seeing positive West Nile cases earlier in the season than is typical.