Middlesex County Resident First to Get West Nile Virus

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The state’s first human case of West Nile Virus in 2014 has been reported in Middlesex County, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The patient is a man in his 60s from Middlesex County, according to a report in the Boston Globe. This is the first reported case this year, but in 2013 Massachusetts had human eight cases.

This is the peak season for West Nile Virus infections, and the Department of Public Health has a number of tips for avoiding West Nile Virus – the primary one being avoiding mosquito bites.

  • Be aware that mosquitoes are active in damp shady areas, during cloudy humid days, at dusk,  dawn and during the night.
  • To protect yourself from mosquitoes use mosquito repellent and wear protective clothing.
  • Use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and follow the  directions on the label. Never use DEET on infants. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus should not be used on children under three. Although uncomfortable during hot days, long-sleeve shirts and long pants can provide a layer of protection.
  • Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors. Baby carriages and playpens should be covered with mosquito netting.
  • Fix any holes in screens and screen doors and replace worn weather stripping.

People can take other actions to prevent the conditions that could lead to getting West Nile Virus.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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