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State Confirms First Positive Mosquito for West Nile Virus

June 27, 2006

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced on June 27 that West Nile virus had been detected in mosquitoes collected from the town of Needham.  No human cases have been reported.

While West Nile virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.  The disease is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. 
State health officials recommend that the public take action now to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations around homes and neighborhoods.

  • Limit your time outdoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn) or, if you must remain outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus may also be considered.  Products with permethrin should only be used on clothing. Always follow the directions on the label. Repellents should not be used on children younger than two months of age.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors.  When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
  • Fix any holes in screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all doors and windows.
  • Remove any standing water from backyards so mosquitoes can’t breed.  Mosquitoes will begin to breed in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days.  Make sure water does not collect and stagnate in ceramic pots, trash cans, recycling containers, old tires, wading pools, birds baths, etc.  Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of roof gutters.

Information about West Nile virus and reports of activity in Massachusetts during 2006 can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv/wnv1.htm.  Information on symptoms and treatment for West Nile virus can be found at www.mass.gov/dph/cdc/factsheets/fswnv.pdf

MEDIA CONTACT

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer
617-665-3833
sfeinberg@challiance.org


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