Photo: There are effective ways to prevent the West Nile virus from infecting you and your family.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced in a press release Thursday, July 19 that West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Belmont. Accordingly, MDPH has raised the risk of WNV infection from “low” to “moderate” in Belmont and surrounding communities in the Greater Boston Area.
This marks the fourth summer in the past five years that the virus has been found in mosquitoes from Belmont.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the Bay State and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
By taking a few, basic precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- 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. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m- toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8- diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water: Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of 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: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website.