Monday, September 24, 2012

Staying Safe from Mosquitoes

Even though the cool evenings of autumn are now upon us, it is vital to take effective measures to protect ourselves and our family members from mosquitoes. While it is important to know that the vast majority of mosquitoes are not carrying the West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), the risk of infection is still very real.

So far this year mosquitoes in 109 communities and in 9 counties of the Commonwealth have tested positive for the West Nile Virus resulting in 19 human cases, the most since the virus first arrived in Massachusetts in 2000. Also, 6 additional people have tested positive for EEE, which is the most since 1983, 2 of those have resulted in death.

It is important to try and minimize early evening and night activities until the first deep frost of the year has arrived. Most mosquitoes die due to the extreme change in temperature. Until then if you must stay outside for long periods of time, be sure to wear long sleeved shirts and pants, and spray on DEET contained mosquito repellent products.

Protecting your house is also very important. To control mosquito populations around your home drain items that can collect water from rainfall (gutters, old tires, wading pools, birdbaths, etc.). Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, which offers ideal conditions for mosquito populations to grow. Also, do a check of all your window screens. If there are any holes, it is imperative that the screens are patched to prevent mosquito bites during the night.

To learn more about the West Nile Virus and EEE, please click here to visit the Department of Public Health’s website. Posted below is a Mosquito Risk Map of the Commonwealth.