Town of Arlington
Department of Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02476
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Christine Bongiorno
Email: [email protected]
Health Department Reports West Nile Virus Detected in Mosquitoes in Arlington
ARLINGTON — Christine Bongiorno, Director of Health and Human Services, reports that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquito samples in Arlington.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that WNV was also found in samples taken in Boston and Waltham. Positive mosquito samples were detected in Worcester, Brookline and Malden earlier this summer.
DPH reports that although there have been no human cases of WNV infection reported in the state this year, the current warm weather and pattern of precipitation events have produced large mosquito populations among the species most likely to spread WNV.
As a result of these findings, DPH has raised the risk level for human infection in the communities of Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Waltham and Watertown from low to moderate.
“While this is not cause for serious alarm, residents should be aware that West Nile Virus was found in mosquitoes in Arlington and take extra steps to avoid contact with the insects,” Bongiorno said. “Stay indoors if you can during peak hours and take proactive measures at your home to keep mosquitoes outside.”
To avoid contracting WNV, the Arlington Health Department recommends that residents follow tips outlined by DPH:
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 bird baths frequently.
- Install or repair screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Avoid mosquito bites
- Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
- 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.
- Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. DPH reports that there were 10 human cases of WNV in 2015. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
The Town of Arlington works to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes by treating all storm water catch basins in town, treating wetland areas and working with property owners to remove large sources of standing water, such as abandoned swimming pools. For more information about WNV, please visit: www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito