WNV Is Found In Western Massachusetts Crow

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in a crow from West Springfield.

“We are now seeing WNV in western Massachusetts so residents there need to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using clothing to cover up or applying bug spray,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Once we find WNV is in the environment, the trend is for us to find additional positive samples from the same area. WNV will be with us for the remainder of the summer.”

In 2007, there were six human cases of WNV in Massachusetts. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

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 occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

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* 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 Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 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.

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. Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Report Dead Birds

* Dead crows or blue jays may be a sign that WNV is circulating among the birds and mosquitoes in an area. Call 1-866-MASS WNV to report a dead bird. By reporting dead birds, you can play an important role in monitoring WNV.

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