Health officials issue warning after Arlington mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus

ARLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Health officials are warning residents in Arlington and surrounding communities to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites after multiple pools tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday that multiple pools of mosquitoes had tested positive for the virus, which can cause a severe infection in older adults, Arlington Public Health Director Natasha Waden said in a statement.

Although there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus detected this year, Waden is urging residents in the area to be aware and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

“We want to remind residents that the possibility of contracting a mosquito-borne illness remains as long as West Nile Virus is circulating in the area,” Waden said. “We advise residents to be smart when outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk, and to take precautions around their homes to prevent mosquito breeding.”

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.

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