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Region 1: EPA New England

Seasonal Issues

Revised 2005 EPA Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides How to Comply Manual

The Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides How to Comply Manual has been updated to reflect amendments to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), a regulation designed to protect agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The WPS contains requirements for pesticide safety training, notification of pesticide applications, use of personal protective equipment, restricted entry intervals following pesticide application, decontamination supplies, and emergency medical assistance. The revised manual provides detailed information on who is covered by the WPS and how to meet regulatory requirements. The updated manual will facilitate better protection of pesticide workers and handlers in agriculture from the potential risks of pesticides. The new 2005 WPS How to Comply (HTC) Manual supersedes the 1993 version.

Revised 2005 EPA Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides How to Comply Manual (PDF) (140 pp, 3.6 MB, about PDF)

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Household Pests

Household pests can be a challenge both indoors and out of doors, here's information to help you manage household pests.

Insect Advice from Extension Click icon for EPA disclaimer. 

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Pesticide Alert

The EPA is issuing this Alert to all pesticide industry organizations, facilities, and handlers as a precaution during this heightened state of security awareness. This Alert highlights some general security areas that companies may want to review to ensure that appropriate measures are being implemented.

EPA Headquarter's Pesticide Safety and Site Security page.

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West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that may cause serious illness. The most serious form of WNV infection is fatal encephalitis (inflamation of the brain) in humans and horses, as well as mortality in many domestic and wild animals and birds. WNV occurs in Africa, western Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean region of Europe, and more recently North America. In North America, WNV has quickly become established. Horses and certain wild birds, especially crows and jays are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

History in the United States
WNV was first detected in the United States in New York City, NY, during the summer and fall of 1999; by the end of 1999, WNV had been detected in adjacent areas of Connecticut, and New Jersey and New York. By the end of 2000, WNV had been detected in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Included were all of the New England states except Maine. In 2001, its third year in the US, WNV had spread into the Midwest and deeper into the Southeast. It was detected in a total of 27 states including all 6 New England states, as well as Ontario, Canada and the Cayman Island in the Caribbean. By October 2, 2002 WNV was known to occur from coast-to-coast in a total of 43 states, with human cases detected in 32 states. By November 2003, WNV had been detected in every state in the continental U.S. except Washington and Oregon. Experts believe that WNV is now permanently established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall.

Human Health Issues

Symptoms vary, of people who are infected, approximately 80%, show no symptoms at all. Up to 20% of the people who become infected display mild symptoms, including fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. About 1 in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

The elderly and immuno-compromised are at higher risk of experiencing serious health problems from the virus than others.

WNV Transmission
Since WNV was first introduced into the U.S. much has been learned about the virus including its transmission and impact on humans. Many different species of mosquitoes which occur in the U.S. have been identified as being able to transmit the virus. It is also now known that the virus can be spread by infected blood, transplant organs, from mother to fetus through the placenta, and from mother to infant through breast milk.

The FDA and other organizations have taken precautions to reduce the risk of WNV transmission through blood transfusion and organ transplantation. One of these precautions has been to allow donor blood to be screened using rapidly developed experimental tests.

Additionally, during 2003 the CDC and state and local health departments formed a registry to follow birth outcomes among women with WNV illness in pregnancy. More than 70 women were identified. Because of concerns about adverse health effects to pregnant women and newborns, pregnant women should avoid mosquito bites by using protective clothing, and using repellents containing N,N,-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET). Repellents with DEET are safe for pregnant women when used according to label directions, and there are other options, as well such as soybean oil based repellent that provides limited term, good protection.

Protecting Yourself Against WNV
For people living in areas where WNV is active the following is recommended:

  • When going outdoors, apply insect repellent containing N,N,-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) to bare skin and clothing. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Products containing 10 % or less DEET may be the most appropriate for children aged 2 -12 years. Always follow product instructions when using repellents.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that covers legs and arms while in areas where mosquitoes are likely to be present.
  • To the extent possible, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquito activity is greatest.
  • Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair and that other routes of mosquito access to building s and living space are blocked.
  • Clean out clogged rain gutters to avoid collecting water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
  • At least once or twice a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths swimming pool covers, and other items that collect water

West Nile Virus Resources for New Englanders

WNV is a special threat to horses with 30 - 40 % of the horses that contract the disease dying from the illness. There is no treatment for WNV once a horse becomes infected. For horses that survive, a full recovery is likely. Horses vaccinated against eastern equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis or Venezuelan equine encephalitis are NOT protected against WNV.

In November 2002, a vaccine intended to aid in the prevention of WNV in horses was licensed by the Veterinary Services Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This is a killed vaccine product, and its use is restricted to licensed veterinarians. Veterinary Services is working to assist all companies interested in producing vaccines.

For horses to be protected by vaccination, they should receive the second of two initial doses of the currently licensed vaccine at least two weeks before mosquitoes are likely to bite and infect them. The vaccine label stipulates that horses should receive an annual booster, although some State Veterinarians are recommending more than one booster per year.

Federal Agency Responsibilities

  • The CDC is the lead federal agency for WNV. It provides financial and technical support to the public health community to ensure effective responses to WNV outbreaks. The CDC supports special WNV surveillance programs, and, since 2002 special surveillance has been ongoing in states, some cities, and the District of Columbia. The CDC sponsors training for the public health sector, provides support and recommendations for monitoring birds, mosquitoes, and humans, in addition to providing laboratory support. Information about WNV is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  • EPA, is the federal agency responsible for regulating pesticides (including products designed to control mosquito adults (adulticides), larvae (larvicides), and repellents). EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs registers pesticides, and the regional offices and headquarters provide support on outreach and education to the public, state and local agencies (e.g., prevention methods, proper use of repellents, appropriate use of larvicides and adulticides, and application techniques). Decisions to control mosquitos are made by state and local agencies.
  • Several other federal agencies have various roles on different aspects of WNV including the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Bed Bugs

The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, has no preferred dwelling; they reside in dormitories, apartments, hotels, or single family homes. They are nocturnal creatures and thrive on human blood. Bedbugs don't dine on cookie crumbs in the corner, they prefer to migrate to mattresses to easily access their next meal. Learn about bed bugs here.

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