Mosquitoes found in Watertown have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to the Watertown Health Department.
Town health officials were contacted by the state Department of Public Health about the positive tests, according to Deb Rosati, the Director of the Watertown Health Department.
“This virus has been detected in mosquitoes in neighboring towns since July and it was inevitable that we would actually see some of these same affected species testing positive for WNV in Watertown,” Rosati said in a letter to Town Manager Michael Driscoll and the members of the Board of Health.
The hot dry weather has created an environment that helps spread the virus, Rosati said.
The Health Department already issued a Mosquito Health Advisory in mid-July due to reports of WNV in nearby towns.
There has also been one positive human case of West Nile Virus somewhere in Middlesex County, Rosati said.
“Residents should continue to take precautionary measure to protect themselves against mosquito exposure,” Rosati said.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Avoid exposure to mosquitoes! Be aware of increased mosquito activity between dusk and dawn.
- If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks.
- Cover baby carriages and playpens that are outdoors with mosquito netting.
- Use a mosquito repellent when outdoors! Repellents that contain DEET are the most effective, although DEET should not be used on infants. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends products which contain the chemical Picaridin, found in Cutter Advanced; or products containing the oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Alternatives to DEET that can also be effective for a limited duration of one hour are: citronella; Avon Skin-So-Soft Plus; Buzz Away; neem oil; and soybean oil. If you need help selecting a repellent, one useful tool is available at http://pi.ace.orst.edu/repellents/.
- Avoid areas that tend to have a lot of mosquitoes, such as wetlands or swampy areas.
- Fix holes in window and door screens.
- Remove standing or stagnant water in your yard where mosquitoes breed. Check containers, pots, garbage cans, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, old tires, clogged gutters, etc., remove water and invert containers. Ensure that swimming pools are not abandoned and left with standing water.
- Repair leaking pipes and outdoor faucets.
- Keep your grass cut short and bushes near your house trimmed so that mosquitoes can’t hide.
For further information or to report stagnant water (more than 10 days) or other complaints, please contact the Watertown Health Department at 617-972-6446.