For the first time this summer, a mosquito pool in Boston has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). Tests performed earlier this week confirmed one positive mosquito pool in Jamaica Plain. However, there have been no recorded human cases of mosquito-borne illnesses in Boston this year.
“It’s again the time of year when it’s not surprising to find mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus in Boston,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission. “The recent combination of hot weather and rain likely contributed to West Nile appearing when it did, and people should take some simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
These steps include using insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting and, when possible, wearing clothing that includes long sleeves and pants. People should also mosquito-proof their home by making sure that their window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house.
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, the Boston Public Health Commission advises people to turn over unused flower pots, buckets, wheelbarrows, and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, but it poses very low risk to most people. The risk can be further reduced by following simple safety measures.
The City of Boston, in partnership with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project, has placed larvicide in catch basins and wetlands, a process designed to reduce the mosquito population. Targeted, truck-mounted aerosol spraying will also be performed to help control the mosquito population in certain areas of Boston.
BPHC offers fact sheets in a variety of languages to help educate people on the risks associated with WNV:
For more information on mosquito-borne illness, call the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611 or visit www.bphc.org/mbi.