South Shore officials are warning residents to cover up and spray down after the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Board announced Friday that West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been detected in mosquitoes samples collected in the area on August 2nd.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that West Nile Virus was found in a mosquito sample taken in Whitman. West Nile Virus and EEE were detected in samples in Brockton, and EEE was also detected in West Bridgewater.
West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Every summer the state tests dead birds and traps and tests mosquitoes for the virus.
West Nile virus has also been found this year in samples of mosquitoes taken Quincy, Cohasset and Milton.
Although the risk of becoming ill is low, the Health Department recommends that people take precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
· Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
· Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water, and by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools, and old tires.
· Use insect repellents that are safe and effective against mosquitoes. Products with a registration number from the Environmental Protection Agency on the label have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Repellents containing DEET in concentrations up to 30%, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 can be used to prevent mosquito bites.
· Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
There is a vaccine for horses, and horse owners should discuss vaccination with their veterinarians.
Symptoms of West Nile virus are often mild, but can include high fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. Approximately 1 percent of people who are infected develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system, which can be fatal.
For more information on West Nile Virus and EEE, visit the Plymouth County Mosquito Control web site at: http://www.plymouthmosquito.org/