Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health
On August 29 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Concord, Lexington, Lincoln and Wellesley.
To date this year, no mosquitoes have tested positive in Bedford; however, last year two mosquito samples from Bedford tested positive for WNV.Due to the detection of WNV positive mosquitoes in surrounding communities and given that Bedford has similar mosquito habitats to those communities, MDPH has elevated the risk for WNV from low to moderate in Bedford, meaning human infection with WNV is likely.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito, typically a culex mosquito, infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people who are over the age of fifty (50) and/or immuno-compromised are at higher risk for severe infection.
Bedford residents have an important role to play in reducing the risk of WNV and protecting themselves and their loved ones by implementing the following mosquito source reduction strategies:
- Draining buckets, barrels, tarps, wheel barrows and unused tires, flowerpots and wading pools to avoid water accumulation.
- Changing the water twice each week in birdbaths and outdoor pet water dishes.
- Keeping rain gutters clean of debris.
- Checking children’s outdoor toys for water accumulation.
Residents can prevent mosquito bites by:
- Installing or repairing screens on windows and doors.
- Being 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.
- Wearing appropriate clothing to 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.
- Applying 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.