Arlington Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus
Health Officials Ask Residents to Take Precautions
Public Health Director Natasha Waden reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that multiple pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Arlington and other surrounding communities.
Although there have been no human cases of WNV detected this year, the Arlington Board of Health urges residents to be aware and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
"We want to reminded residents that the possibility of contracting mosquito-borne illness remains as long as West Nile Virus is circulating in the area," Waden said. "We advise residents to be smart when outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk, and to take precautions around their homes to prevent mosquito breeding."
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. In 2017, there were six confirmed human cases of WNV. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
Arlington works to prevent breeding of mosquitoes by treating all stormwater catch basins in town and wetland areas, and by working with property owners to remove large sources of standing water like abandoned swimming pools.
Additionally, the Arlington Board of Health recommends the following safety tips:
Mosquito-Proof Your Home:
- Drain standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or repair screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Avoid Mosquito Bites:
- Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin