Residents are being urged to take precautions against mosquito bites as Weston's risk level has been raised to moderate for West Nile Virus, (WNV). With the record rainfall comes an increased risk level for mosquito-borne illnesses that can make humans very ill.
Mosquito samples in the Great Boston area have shown a significant increase in WNV activity and as of September 2, three human cases have been reported. With weather favorable for mosquito activity, the WNV risk level for an additional 38 communities was raised by the Dept. of Public Health to Moderate. Many of our surrounding communities share this risk level. Risk from WNV will continue until the first hard frost.
WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
Treatment in Weston
Targeting the primary vector for WNV, East Middlesex Mosquito Control has completed applying a larval control product to the catch basins. Due to the recent rain, backpack larval control will be conducted in wetlands over the next couple of weeks. East Middlesex Mosquito Control is asking for residents to empty standing water around their property, as it would be extremely beneficial toward reducing breeding. With the frequency of rain since early July, containers (including gutters) that haven't been dumped have been holding water and producing mosquitoes for a couple of months.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors - Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to 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.
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.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your 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 discarding items that hold water.
Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains.
Water troughs should be flushed out to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the DPH by calling 617-983-6800.