Bedford’s Board of Health Reminds Residents That It’s Still Mosquito Season

Over the next several weeks, Bedford’s Board of Health will continue to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project to monitor the mosquito populations for West Nile Virus in the mosquito trap locations located in Bedford. Spraying will continue based on surveillance data from the traps and will be announced on the town website and on Bedford Information Radio AM 1640.

Hot and humid summer weather offers a reason to remain cautious, although no mosquitoes from Bedford have been identified as carrying diseases like West Nile Virus (WNV) or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has identified that the current mosquito-borne illness risk in Bedford is low as of August 9.

Bedford’s wetlands, mosquito breeding habits in even small places with standing water, the early detection of disease in other parts of Massachusetts, and the hot summer weather, offer the potential for mosquitoes in our area to test positive for mosquito-borne diseases this summer.

The Bedford Department of Public Works treated the standing water in approximately 400 catch basins during July to reduce the presence of mosquito larvae. The Culex mosquito, primarily responsible for West Nile Virus, prefers to lay its eggs in standing water.

The Board of Health appreciates the community’s continued support of the mosquito control program. If you have any questions or would like additional information on bite prevention, repellents, or diseases spread by mosquitoes please contact the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507 or visit their website at www.bedfordma.gov/health.

What can you do to avoid exposure?

The Bedford Board of Health reminds you to take the following precautions in an effort to reduce your exposure to bites from mosquitoes:

  • Be aware that peak mosquito biting hours are from dusk to dawn but given ideal temperatures and humidity and moderate cloud cover, biting mosquitoes can be present during the day.
  • When you are outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and socks. This may be difficult to do when the weather is hot, but it will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • It is advisable to use repellent even if you’re only going outside for a few minutes. 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% 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.
  • When using repellents on children, put some on your hands first, and then apply it to the child. Don’t let children handle repellent and don’t put repellents on a child’s hands.
  • You should reapply additional repellent if outdoors for extended periods of time or if you’re sweating or getting wet.
  • As always, follow the application instructions on the repellent label and wash skin thoroughly once you go indoors.
  • You can take some additional precautions including: removing standing water from outdoor containers which allow for mosquito breeding, using mosquito netting over baby carriages and keeping mosquitoes out of your house by repairing any holes in your screens and making sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.

From the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced late last week that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Hanover, Methuen, Revere, Saugus, West Bridgewater, and Winthrop. Statewide last year, four thousand six hundred four (4,604) mosquito samples were tested for WNV and as a result, only two hundred seventy five (275) samples were positive. 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, people over the age of fifty (50) are at higher risk for severe infection.

Culex mosquitoes are the primary vectors of West Nile Virus.  The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state, and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. While most mosquito species develop in wetlands, Culex mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in catchbasins, clogged rain gutters, unused tires, buckets and other water holding containers.  Residents have an important role to play in reducing the risk of WNV and protecting themselves and their loved ones by taking a few, common-sense precautions.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2012 can be found on the MDPH website at https://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv. Recorded information about WNV is also available by calling the MDPH Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968).


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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