Mosquitoes in Nearby Communities Test positive for West Nile Virus

Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health

MosquitoWhile mosquitoes in nearby communities have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), Bedford’s Board of Health states that no WNV-positive mosquitoes or human cases of West Nile Virus have been discovered in the Town of Bedford so far this season.

Editor’s Note: Read about next Tuesday’s mosquito spraying in Bedford neighborhoods.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Hanscom Air Force Base, Lexington, Maynard, Sandwich, Everett, Malden, Medford, Tisbury, Boston, Barnstable, and Yarmouth. In late August last year, two mosquito samples from Bedford tested positive for WNV, but none have tested positive in Bedford this year. Statewide last year, 6,828 mosquito samples were tested for WNV and only 307 (4.5%) were positive. There were no human cases of WNV in Bedford in 2012, but statewide there were 33 human cases, the most ever recorded in a single season. 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 WNV.  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.

Because of the role of Culex mosquitoes transmitting WNV, residents can help combat this disease by mosquito proofing their property.   Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to develop 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 as some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

You may also avoid Mosquito bites by following these simple steps:

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider re-scheduling 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. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, 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% 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.

In July, the Bedford DPW treated catchbasins in town to reduce the presence of mosquito larvae. Additionally, based on acquired surveillance data from four mosquito trap locations in town, the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP) will continue with truck mounted spraying events in Bedford to reduce populations adult biting mosquitoes. The Bedford Board of Health will continue to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the EMMCP to monitor the mosquito populations for WNV.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2013 can be found on the MDPH website at Facts sheets on WNV and other mosquito-related materials are available by contacting the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507 or by accessing their website at

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