DATE: 9/13/2016 CONTACT: Kristin Kennedy
TOWN: Easton TELEPHONE: 508-230-0620
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Easton, Massachusetts. The type of mosquito was Culex pipiens & Culex restuans. Artificial and natural containers are the preferred larval habitat for these mosquitoes. They feed mainly on birds and occasionally on mammals. They are the primary vectors of WNV. Easton has 1 WNV positive mosquito sample identified in 2016.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state and are found in urban as well as more rural areas.
Although Labor Day may be the unofficial end to summer, the weather patterns are continuing to support populations of mosquitoes that are responsible for spreading WNV. "Low" WNV risk persists in Easton.
September is the time of year when people are most likely to be exposed to infected mosquitoes. People over the age of 50 and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk for severe disease from WNV.
By taking a few common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites:
- 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 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 repellent.
- Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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 three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home:
- Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of 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 - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
While Easton continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally we are working in conjunction with Bristol County Mosquito Control. At this time the Town of Easton remains at a risk level of "Low." (9/13/2016). Additional information is available at http://westnile.ashtonweb.com/
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.