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Southeastern Massachusetts targets mosquitoes carrying eastern equine encephalitis

Planes are scheduled to take to the air tomorrow night to begin spraying a swath of Southeastern Massachusetts with pesticide targeted at mosquitoes carrying eastern equine encephalitis, Governor Deval Patrick announced today at a news conference in Lakeville.

The planes, which will cover Bristol and Plymouth counties, will spray an insecticide called sumithrin, which is a synthetic version of a chemical found in chrysanthemum flowers. Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state's top disease tracker, said environmental review committees that have analyzed sumithrin regard it as "the most effective, least toxic."

The decision to start aerial spraying was prompted by testing that showed an unprecedented level of virus-infected mosquitoes in July.

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