ARLINGTON — Public Health Director Natasha Waden wishes to share important safety tips to prevent mosquito bites and avoid mosquito-borne diseases following mosquitos in nearby communities testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).
Mosquito samples in the City of Boston and City of Somerville have tested positive for WNV. West Nile Virus has not been detected in the Town of Arlington.
Although there have been no human cases of WNV detected this year in Massachusetts, it is important for residents to be aware and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
“Even though West Nile Virus has not been found in mosquitoes in Arlington this year, residents should still make an active effort to protect themselves and their loved ones since the virus has been detected in nearby towns,” Waden said. “Be assured that we will continue to monitor the status of West Nile Virus in Arlington and surrounding communities, and will keep residents updated on the latest developments.”
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans via the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. In 2021, there were 11 human cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts. While the virus 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 stormwater 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.