Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Public Health Officials are Warning Residents about West Nile Virus after Mosquitoes Test Positive in Surrounding Communities
ANDOVER — The Andover Public Health Division is providing residents with the proper safety measures to protect themselves against mosquito-borne illness, especially West Nile Virus, after insects in nearby communities recently tested positive for the virus.
Mosquitoes in Wilmington, North Reading, North Andover, Methuen and other cities and towns north of Boston have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Although no mosquitoes in Andover have tested positive, Andover Director of Public Health Thomas Carbone and the Public Health Division urge residents to follow several important safety tips to prevent breeding and bites from the insects.
“September does not mean the end of mosquito season,” Director Carbone said. “As long as there is a threat of illness to our residents, we will continue to advise residents to follow best practices, especially at dawn and dusk, to avoid mosquito bites and prevent the proliferation of these insects.”
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. The CDC reports that there were six reported human cases of WNV in Massachusetts in 2017 and 16 cases in 2016. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection. WNV struck people in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, resulting in 121 deaths across the country. Only Maine, Hawaii, and Alaska were free of human cases of WNV in 2017.
Andover 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 Health Division 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.