As the summer comes to a close, it is important to continue to take precautions to prevent mosquito-borne viruses since late summer and early fall (until the first frost) are usually periods with increased infection rates.
The recent and continued detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) activity in southeastern Massachusetts and West Nile Virus (WNV) highlights the need for continued personal protection measures.
On July 20 in Plymouth County, there was a positive case of EEE in a male between the age of 10 and 19. On Aug. 1 in Hampden County, there was a second occurrence of a positive case of EEE in a female between the age of 60 and 69 years. On Aug. 14, there was a third occurrence of a positive case of EEE in a male between the age of 90 and 99.
On Aug. 2 in Middlesex County, there was a positive case of WNV in a male between the age of 50 and 59.
Mosquito samplings have detected EEE in Franklin, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Worcester counties. Mosquito samplings detected WNV in Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Bristol counties.
The Milton Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) remind residents to reduce their risk of mosquito-borne viruses by using appropriate personal protective measures.
Limit your time outdoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn) or if you must remain outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET, Permethrin, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the label. Repellents should not be used on children younger than two months of age and used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Do not apply Permethrin products to skin. They should be applied to clothing, camping items, and bed nets.
Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors. When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
Fix any holes in screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all doors and windows.
Remove any standing water from backyards so mosquitoes cannot breed. Mosquitoes will begin to breed in a puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days. Make sure water does not collect and stagnate in ceramic pots, trash cans, recycling containers, old tires, wading pools, bird baths, etc. Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of roof gutters.
More information on mosquito-borne diseases, their symptoms, protecting yourself from bites by mosquitoes, and safe application of mosquito repellents can be obtained by visiting the MDPH website on arboviral (mosquito-transmitted) diseases at www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-arbovirus-update.
The Norfolk County Mosquito Control District offers up to date information on Milton surveillance data, integrated mosquito management, and requests for spraying or exclusion from spraying. Call 781-762-3681 or online at www.norfolkcountymosquito.org.
In addition, the Milton Health Department reminds residents to be aware of the increasing occurrence of Lyme disease. The highest risk period of infection runs through early fall. The single most important thing is to check yourself for ticks once a day (don’t forget to check children and pets).
For more information, visit the MDPH website on tick borne diseases at www.mass.gov/dph/tick.