Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
Board of Health Director Heidi Porter this morning confirmed that although a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus was found in Bedford’s most recent sample sent to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for testing, there have been no reports of infected animals or people.
Bedford’s positive sample is the first in the community since 2012, and the Town’s announcement includes a reminder to be mindful and protect individuals, animals and homes against mosquitoes.
Through the East Middlesex Mosquito Control District, Bedford began its program with an aerial application to control mosquito larvae in late April, and has followed up with truck-mounted spraying programs on May 29, June 18, June 30/July 1, and July 22/23. There is also an initiative that treats catch basins with larvicide. According to today’s press release, the Town will continue to monitor its four mosquito trap locations and schedule additional spraying as warranted.
Today’s announcement from the Town of Bedford
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced last week that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Bedford, Massachusetts. In 2014, across Massachusetts, 5,039 mosquito samples were tested for WNV and 56 samples were found to be positive for WNV. Bedford had no WNV positive mosquito samples identified in 2014. The sample reported last week was the first positive WNV mosquito identified in Bedford since 2012.
WNV is most commonly 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 WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- 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. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- 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.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed 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 – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
The Bedford Board of Health continues to work closely with the MDPH and East Middlesex Mosquito Control project who treats mosquito larvae in wetlands with aerial and portable sprayers and provides larvicide to treat the catch basins in town. The four mosquito trap locations in town will continue monitored and when elevated adult mosquito populations are identified in the traps, truck mounted aerosol spraying will be conducted.
Information about WNV and mosquito control can be found on Bedford Board of Health website at www.bedfordma.gov/boh. Reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at https://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv. For more information, contact the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507.