Wilmington joined the growing list of towns with confirmed cases of West Nile Virus as the town announced this morning that mosquitoes collected on August 7 tested positive for the virus.
According to a press release from Director of Public Health Shelly Newhouse, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that West Nile was detected in mosquitoes collected in the Dublin Ave. wetlands area.
The type of mosquito tested is primarily a bird-biter, according to the release, but it will occasionally bite humans as well.
Towns in the surrounding area have also had issues with mosquitoes testing positive for various diseases in recent weeks. Reading recently had positive test for EEE, while the state announced on Wednesday that an .
“It’s prevalent every summer, but we’re just hearing more about it because it’s being seen in other states as well so it’s on the news more,” said Newhouse. “It’s been a few years since we’ve had a positive test in Wilmington.”
Newhouse said that last week, before the mosquito tested positive for West Nile, she requested extra spraying around town parks as a precaution because of the cases in surrounding towns.
Now with the positive test, an additional spraying by Central Massachusetts Mosquito Controlin in the area of Dublin Ave. will be done. The spraying will not be done aerially, but instead off of the back of a truck.
Though West Nile Virus is a concern, Newhouse said it is an illness that most people who contract it get over quickly. Residents over 50 years old and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to West Nile, and they would have to be bitten by a specific mosquito that is carrying the disease.
The Health Director said the most important thing for residents to do is remove all standing water from their yard, including things as small as children’s toys and bird bath.
“It’s just prevention that is the biggest thing,” said Newhouse.
Here is a look at further advice to help prevent West Nile Virus:
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. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellent.
- Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing light colored long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
- Persons who find themselves outside at dusk and other times of high mosquito activity should continue to protect themselves from bites by wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts, and using a mosquito repellent with DEET; always follow the label on the repellent.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water – Many 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, children's toys 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.
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website, or you can call the Board of Health at (978) 658-4298, or via e-mail. Residents can also visit the town website for more.