ARLINGTON, MA – Several mosquito pools in Arlington and other surrounding communities have been tested positive for the West Nile virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Although it has not reported any human cases of WNV this year, the Arlington Board of Health is calling for residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
"We would like to remind residents that the opportunity to catch a mosquito-borne disease persists until the West Nile virus circulates in the region," said Arlington Public Health Director Natasha Waden a statement. "We advise residents to be smart outside, especially at dawn and dusk, and to take precautions to prevent mosquito breeding."
Last year there were six confirmed cases of WNV in humans. The virus, most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, poses a greater threat to people over the age of 50 years.
Arlington works against the breeding of mosquitoes by treating all of the city's rainwater catchments the wetlands and through collaboration with property owners to remove large sources of stagnant water such as abandoned swimming pools.
Additionally, the Arlington Health Authority recommends the following safety tips:
Mosquito-Proof Your Home:
- Drain standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Limit the number of places in your home to allow mosquitoes to breed by either draining or throwing away water. Check gutters and drains. Empty unused flower pots and paddling pools and often change the water in the bird baths.
- Install or repair the screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having snug-fitting windows on all windows and doors.
Avoid mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellent outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridine (KBR 3023), lemongrass eucalyptus [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 2 months of age and should be used in older children in concentrations of 30% or less. Citrus oil Eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under the age of 3 years.
- Watch the mosquito peak hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that take place in the evening or early morning.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long-sleeved long-sleeved pants and socks outdoors helps keep mosquitos away from the skin.
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