Belmont Health Issues Warning on Mosquitos as West Nile Virus Detected

Photo: What to watch out for.

It’s nearing mid-summer and with the recent rainstorms that passed through the region, it’s certain that in time at all, outdoor activities will be impacted by an influx of mosquitoes. The Belmont Department of Health has issued this press release to warn residents of the danger the insect can inflict on people:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced [Thursday, July 24] that West Nile virus has been detected in mosquito samples collected from Waltham, Brookline, Reading and Richmond. 

WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

As always, there are a few precautions people can do to help to protect themselves and their families:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, if possible, as this is the time of greatest mosquito activity.
  • If you must be outside during that time, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. If you choose to apply a chemical based repellant containing DEET, follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.  Parents should NEVER use DEET on infants; use a 10 percent or less DEET concentration on children and 30 to 35 percent or less on adults.
  • Make sure as much skin as possible is covered when children are outdoors and cover baby carriages with netting.
  • Fix all holes in screens and make sure doors and screens fit tightly.

To reduce the mosquito population around your home, eliminate all standing water that is available for mosquito breeding and follow these simple guidelines:

  • Dispose of, or regularly empty, any metal cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots and other water holding containers.
  • Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have collected on your property. Tires are a common place for mosquitoes to breed. For that reason, it is a violation of the Nuisance Regulations to leave tires stored outdoors.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and debris that would prevent good drainage. This may be the single biggest source of mosquitoes in any neighborhood.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Swimming pools should be kept properly filtered and chlorinated. They should never be allowed to remain stagnant. Mosquito “dunks” can be purchased at many hardware stores to treat pool water if you must leave your pool unattended for keep the pool cover on for a significant period of time.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate areas of standing water on your property. Reducing insect harborage is one of the goals of the Health Department’s nuisance regulations, which ask that residents remove piles of rubbish, debris, yard waste, etc. from their yards.

            If you have any questions, please call the Health Department at 617 993-2720   

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