WALTHAM, MA – It was only a matter of time. First they met the state, then they were recently found in JP. Now mosquitoes in Waltham have been tested positive for the West Nile virus on July 20, reports the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Waltham.
Although no residents have tested positive for the virus, health officials are encouraging people to take preventative measures
It's just the beginning of the mosquito season and the highest risk of getting West Nile is usually from the end of July to the fall, according to health officials.
As the city works to address the problem, the health department reminds residents to use bug spray and mindful mosquitoes are particularly active between dawn and dusk. In addition to repellents, the Waltham Public Health Department says wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and socks can help minimize mosquito exposure. But this is not always possible in hot weather.
One thing to know is that mosquitoes breed where water is. This means wetlands, marshy areas and stagnant water ̵
West Nile virus is usually transmitted by the bite to humans from an infected mosquito, according to health officials. In 2017, there were six human cases of infection in Massachusetts. Although people of all ages can be infected, people over 50 have a higher risk for serious cases of the disease. Most people who become infected with WNV have no symptoms.
If present, the symptoms tend to be fever and flu-like illness, according to health authorities. In rare cases, more serious illnesses can occur.
DEET-containing repellents are most effective, although DEET should not be used in infants. The CDC also recommends products containing either the chemical picaridin included in Cutter Advanced; or products containing the oil of lemon eucalyptus. Alternatives to DEET, which may be effective on the market for a limited duration (1 hour), are: Citronella; Avon Skin-So-Soft Plus; Buzz away, neem oil and soybean oil. If you need help choosing a repellent, a useful repellent tool is available here
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