Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Officials Offer Precautions To Avoid Mosquito Bites

The City of Brockton Board of Health was notified Friday, Aug. 5 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus have been detected in mosquitoes collected from the city.
State Board of Health officials said there have been no humans infected with either mosquito-borne virus, so far, in 2011.
Bridgewater, Brockton, and a host of other communities this summer have been identified as having mosquito samples bearing the viruses, and officials urge residents to take precautions to avoid contracting the illnesses, including using specific insect repellent, staying indoors during peak mosquito hours and repairing ripped or broken door and window screens.
During 2010, according to state Board of Health statistics, seven Massachusetts residents were infected by the West Nile virus. Residents in Hampden, Worcester, and three in Suffolk County were treated for either fever or meningoencephalitis.
No human in Plymouth or Norfolk County contracted the infection during 2010, however nationwide the number of West Nile virus cases increased in 2010 to 981 cases versus 720 in 2009.
Here are a few steps to take to avoid getting mosquito bites:
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% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

•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.

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 bird baths frequently.

•Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all windows and doors.

More information is available on the DPH website: www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
Information about WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis is also available by calling the DPH recorded information line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968), or the Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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