ARLINGTON, MA — The West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes collected in Arlington, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Thursday.
The risk level for West Nile Virus has been raised to “moderate” in Arlington.
The virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state and are found in urban as well as more rural areas.
While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for severe infection. Although there have been no human cases of the virus detected in Massachusetts this year, it is important for residents to be aware and take precautions.
“With mosquito samples from Arlington now testing positive for West Nile Virus, it is more important than ever for community members to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and make their home less inviting to mosquitoes,” Health Director Christine Bongiorno said in a statement. “These precautions include avoiding peak mosquito hours, using insect repellent and wearing clothing that will help to cover your skin, as well as ensuring you have well-fitting screens on your windows and doors and draining any standing water near your home.”
The Arlington Health Department is deploying larvicide in catch basins across town, which prevents larval mosquitoes from maturing into adults. One larvicide application happened in June, and another is scheduled in the coming weeks.
Additionally, Arlington Health and Human Services recommends the following precautionary measures:
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% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
– Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
– 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 the 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.
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.