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Mosquito Tests Positive for West Nile Virus in Wayland
Residents should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites

On August 22, 2013, the Wayland Board of Health was notified by the State DPH that a mosquito obtained from Wayland tested positive for WNV.  Residents should be aware that this is not unusual for this time of year.  The mosquito was obtained from a testing pool in the South quadrant of town, it was collected on 8/14/13 and it was a Culex Pipiens species.  Dave Henley, Superintendent of EMMCP, has not yet advised us as to which trap it was collected from. 

A conference call was held by State DPH for local Boards of Health on August 23, 2013 to provide an update on West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis activity in Massachusetts.  Updates from the state will be coming into our office on a regular basis but at this time the town of Wayland is considered a low risk area for mosquito-borne illness.  We will be continuing to monitor the risk level of our district and adjacent communities as well as other indicators and speaking with Dave Henley Superintendent of EMMCP to determine if there is a need for adult truck mounted spraying.

Due to the hot and rainy conditions this summer, mosquito populations are abundant and there are many areas of standing water in people’s yards that should be drained.  The Board of Health recommends that residents should avoid getting mosquito bites, mosquito proof their homes and drain standing water.  See instructions below on how to mosquito proof your home and drain standing water in your yard.  In Wayland, mosquitoes pose a health threat especially for West Nile Virus (WNV) typically between now and early October, or the first frost. 

Residents should be aware that mosquito-borne viruses such as WNV, or EEE could cause fever, meningitis or encephalitis.  Early symptoms of these diseases include fever, headache, stiff neck and muscle weakness. Mosquitoes acquire WNV or EEE after biting an infected bird.  Those mosquitoes can then transmit that virus to a person, horse or to another bird.  Culex mosquitoes that develop in water holding containers are the primary vectors of WNV, while the mosquitoes that transmit EEE originate in wetlands.

There are certain actions that residents should take related to West Nile Virus (WNV).

  • Mosquito proof your home and drain standing water
  • To prevent a yard from becoming a source for Culex mosquitoes, homeowners should make a thorough inspection of their property and remove, empty, cover or treat any water-holding containers.  During the summer, mosquito larvae can complete their development in water within a week.
  • Keep grass cut short and trim shrubs to eliminate hiding places for mosquitoes. Don’t allow grass clippings and debris to clog street gutters: these are prime breeding sites.
  • Containers where mosquitoes commonly lay eggs include neglected swimming pools, water in loose fitting pool covers or tarps, unscreened rain barrels, rimless tires, and plastic toys.  Check rain gutters and drains.
  • Tires should be disposed of properly or stored inside.
  • Rubbish barrels, wheelbarrows and small boats should be covered or stored upside down.
  • The water in wading pools and birdbaths should be changed weekly.
  • Infrequently used pools should be covered or properly maintained.
  • Rainwater collection barrels should be screened, emptied once a week or treated with products containing Bti.
  • Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.  Fix any holes in screens and screen doors and replace worn weather stripping. 
What you should do to avoid mosquito bites

  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are more active in damp, shady areas, during cloudy humid days, and at night.  Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Also, 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 (3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid) or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], use 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 concentration 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 the skin. 
  • More information on choosing and using repellents safely is included in the MDPH Mosquito Repellents fact sheet which can be viewed online here, and also the CDC or National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) toll free at 1-800-858-7378 or online.  If you can’t go online, contact MDPH at (617)983-6800 for a hard copy of the fact sheet.
  • Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors.  Baby carriages and playpens should be covered with mosquito netting.
For further information on WNV or EEE,  log unto the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   If residents have any questions about mosquitoes or how to control them, contact the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730 or visit their website here.