West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the primary time this 12 months, the state’s Division of Public Well being introduced Wednesday.
A mosquito pattern collected in Easton on July 11 examined optimistic for the virus on the Massachusetts State Public Well being Laboratory, however no human or animal circumstances of WNV or Jap equine encephalitis have been detected this 12 months and there’s no elevated threat degree related to the optimistic pattern, the company mentioned.
“West Nile virus is a part of summer season in Massachusetts, and we anticipate to see contaminated mosquitoes right now of 12 months,” mentioned Public Well being Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Now could be the time to start out taking steps to keep away from mosquito bites. Whereas WNV could cause critical sickness, there are issues that you are able to do to guard your self and your family members.”
In 2021, there have been 11 human circumstances of WNV, which is often transmitted to people by being bitten by an contaminated mosquito. Most individuals contaminated could have no signs, however folks over the age of fifty are at larger threat for extreme illness, which might embrace fever and flu-like sickness and, in uncommon circumstances, extra extreme sickness.
Residents are inspired to keep away from mosquito bites by carrying insect repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient, together with DEET, permethrin, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Different measures embrace avoiding out of doors actions throughout peak mosquito hours, or nightfall to daybreak, and carrying lengthy sleeves, lengthy pants and socks to maintain mosquitoes away out of your pores and skin.
To maintain mosquitoes away from your private home, drain any standing water in rain gutters, drains, flower pots, wading swimming pools birdbaths and different gadgets that maintain water, the place mosquitoes lay their eggs. As well as, putting in tightly-fitting screens on home windows and doorways can hold mosquitoes outdoors.
Animals must also be protected by holding them indoors at evening and chatting with veterinarians about mosquito repellents accepted for animals or vaccinations in opposition to WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of getting WNV or EEE, homeowners are required to report back to the Division of Agricultural Sources at 617-626-1795 and to the Division of Public Well being at 617-983-6800.
“Easy actions might help shield you from mosquito bites and the ailments they’ll trigger,” mentioned State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine M. Brown. “Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient, put on clothes to scale back uncovered pores and skin, drain standing water and restore window screens. We additionally encourage you to make it a behavior to verify the mosquito-borne illness webpages on mass.gov so you understand when and the place WNV exercise is going on.”
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