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Posted on: August 9, 2022

Health Officials See Increased Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Illness In Massachusetts

HEALTH OFFICIALS SEE INCREASED RISK OF MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Residents urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites

DATE:    August 9, 2022        

CONTACT: AnneMarie Fleming, Director Board of Health 508-699-0104

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the North Attleboro Board of Health want residents to know that the risk of mosquito-borne illness is on the rise in Massachusetts. The mosquito-borne illness is West Nile virus (WNV).

This summer, Health officials have seen a WNV positive mosquito in South Attleboro. While North Attleboro has not seen any positive mosquitos, we want residents to be aware of the increasing risk and take precautions.

WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  People over age 50 are at higher risk for severe infection from WNV.  

By taking a few, common-sense precautions, you can help protect yourself and your family:

 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 take place during evening or early morning hours. Otherwise, take extra care to use bug spray 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 bug spray when you go outdoors. Use a bug spray 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. 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. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors. Fix any holes or tears in screens, so mosquitoes can’t get in. 

Horse owners are encouraged to vaccinate their horses and reduce their horses’ exposure to mosquitoes.  Signs of illness in any horse should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

More information about mosquito-borne illnesses in Massachusetts during 2022 can be found on the DPH website at https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases.  


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