Natasha Waden, Public Health Director
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Health Officials Warn Residents about West Nile Virus after Mosquitoes Test Positive in Surrounding Communities
ARLINGTON — Public Health Director Natasha Waden reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquito samples taken in Belmont and Cambridge. Although no mosquitoes have tested positive in Arlington, the Board of Health urges residents to follow several important safety tips to prevent breeding and bites from the insects.
“We want to remind residents that the possibility of contracting a mosquito-borne illness remains as long as West Nile Virus is circulating in the area,” Waden said. “We advise residents to be smart when outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk, and to take precautions around your home to prevent mosquito breeding.”
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. In 2016, there were 16 reported human cases of WNV. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
Arlington works to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes by treating all storm water catch basins in town and wetland areas, and by working with property owners to remove large sources of standing water like abandoned swimming pools.
Additionally, the Arlington Board of Health recommends the following safety tips:
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.
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 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 years old.
- 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.