POSTED: October 2, 2015
NORTH READING — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that the fourth and fifth human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year and the first WNV-related fatality from a Suffolk Country resident have been reported.
West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in 160 mosquitoes collected from 12 Massachusetts Counties including Middlesex County (Which North Reading is a part of) As of Oct. 1, no mosquitos or human cases were detected for either the West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the Town of North Reading. The Board of Health recommends and advises all its residents to take the basic precautionary measures when outdoors during dusk and dawn to avoid contact and bites from potential disease carrying mosquitos.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages. Children and people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection. By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
The North Reading Board of Health is strongly urging residents to take personal precuations listed below:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing. Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Apply Insect Repellent
When you go outdoors, use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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 three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
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 getting rid of 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
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect your animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
Residents with questions about mosquitoes or how to control them can contact Robert F. Bracey, Director of Public Health at 978-357-5242 or David Henley @ East Middlesex Mosquito Control 781-899-5730 FAX – 781-647-4988. For additional Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2015 can be found on the Town of North Reading Health Department web page at: https://www.northreadingma.gov/health-department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito
For Public Health Fact Sheets information on:
West Nile Virus: https://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/v-z/wnv-large.pdf
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE): https://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/d-f/eee.pdf
Mosquito Repellents: https://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/m-o/mosquito-repellent…
Frequently Asked Questions about Mosquitoes in Massachusetts: https://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/arbovirus/faq-mosquitoes-ma.pdf
Recorded information about WNV is also available by calling the MDPH Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV