Town of North Andover
Department of Public Health
Brian LaGrasse, Director of Public Health
1600 Osgood St.
Building 20, Unit 2035
North Andover, MA 01845
Monday, Aug. 15, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
North Andover Health Division Provides Residents Mosquito Safety Information
NORTH ANDOVER — The North Andover Health Division is urging residents to take safety precautions to avoid mosquito transmitted illnesses after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel warning earlier this month, cautioning pregnant women and their partners against traveling to one area of Miami, Fla. where the Zika virus is present.
Zika virus, spread mostly by infected mosquitoes, can be sexually transmitted and also pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, where an infant’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. There is no vaccine or medication for Zika.
Currently, mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus have been found in tropical climates like Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, and Southern Florida. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other symptoms include muscle pain and headaches and can last from a few days to a week.
The CDC recommends that:
- All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.
- Women with Zika should wait at least eight weeks, and men with Zika should wait at least six months after symptoms began to try and conceive.
- Women and men who traveled to any area where Zika is present should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.
Mosquitoes in Massachusetts are most prevalent from May to August, but remain active until the first time temperatures fall below freezing. Although the Zika virus has not been reported in Massachusetts, mosquitoes in this area can spread West Nile Virus and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
The North Andover Health Division is reminding residents to follow these tips provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in order to avoid West Nile Virus and EEE:
• Use insect repellent with DEET any time you are outdoors. Be sure to follow the application directions on the label.
• Be aware of peak mosquito hours, which are generally from dusk to dawn. Wear protective clothing when outdoors during peak mosquito hours such as long sleeves, long pants, high socks, hats with netting to cover the face, and any other clothing that will cover exposed skin.
• Use mosquito netting around baby carriages or child playpens when your baby is outdoors.
• Make sure screens are repaired and are tightly attached to doors and windows.
• Remove standing water from places such as puddles, ditches, birdbaths and gutters, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
“While not all mosquitoes carry these diseases, you should always be careful,” said Brian LaGrasse, North Andover Director of Public Health. “Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family against mosquitoes and contact your physician immediately if you have symptoms of any of these viruses.”
Anyone with questions about how to keep themselves protected from mosquitoes should contact the North Andover Health Division at 978-688-9540.