Arlington Mosquitoes Examined Optimistic For West Nile Virus, Neighborhood Members Urged To Take Precautions
For immediate publication
ARLINGTON – Arlington Health and Human Services reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected in Arlington.
As a result of the test results, the WNV risk level for Arlington was increased to moderate.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. The mosquitoes that transmit this virus are spread across the state and are found in both urban and rural areas.
While the virus can infect people of any age, people over 50 are at greater risk of developing severe infection. Although no cases of WNV were detected in humans in Massachusetts this year, it is important for residents to be aware of this and take precautions.
“With mosquito samples from Arlington now testing positive for West Nile virus, it’s more important than ever for community members to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and make their homes less welcoming to mosquitoes,” said director Christine Bongiorno. “These precautions include avoiding mosquito peak times, using insect repellants and wearing clothing that covers your skin, as well as making sure you have well-fitting mosquito screens on your windows and doors and draining stagnant water near your home. “
The Arlington Department of Health continues to work closely with the DPH and other agencies. On site, the department is devastating fishing basins across the city, which prevent mosquito larvae from maturing into adults. One larvicide application took place in June and another is planned for the coming weeks.
Additionally, Arlington Health and Human Services recommends the following precautions:
Avoid mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellent outdoors. Use a repellant with DEET (N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide), Permethrin, Picaridin (KBR 3023), Lemon Eucalyptus Oil [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used in infants under two months of age and in older children at concentrations of 30% or less. Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under 3 years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, mosquito nets, and camping equipment and should not be applied to the skin.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks outdoors will keep mosquitos away from your skin.
- Be aware of the mosquito’s peak times. The hours from dusk to dawn are the main bite times for many mosquitoes. Consider postponing outdoor activities that happen in the evening or early in the morning. If at any time you are outdoors and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to prevent a bite by moving around the house, covering yourself up, and / or wearing a repellent.
Mosquito repellent for your home
- Drain off standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Limit the number of places in your home where mosquitoes can breed by either draining or throwing away items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flower pots and paddling pools, and change the water in bird baths frequently.
- Install or repair screens. Keep mosquitos out by installing tight-fitting mosquito screens on all windows and doors.
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV activity in Massachusetts can be found on the DPH website.