Marion Mosquito sample tests positive for West Nile virus, community members urged to take precautions

For immediate release

MARION – City administrator James McGrail and Director of Public Health Lori Desmarais report that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Marion.

The current risk level of WNV for Marion is low.

Mosquitoes are most prevalent from May to August, but remain active until temperatures drop below freezing for the first time. WNV is most often transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes carrying this virus are common throughout the state and are found in urban areas as well as more rural areas. Although the virus can infect people of all ages, people over 50 are at higher risk of serious infection.

The Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project will spray areas of Marion on Monday, September 20. Applications are made via a very low volume sprayer located on the back of a pickup truck. Typically, spraying is from the street and can travel up to 300 feet. Time permits; sprayers operate from 2 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunrise on weekdays.

In addition, the City of Marion recommends the following precautionary measures:

Avoid mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellant to the exterior. Use repellant with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), lemon eucalyptus oil [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 at concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under 3 years old. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, mosquito nets, and camping gear and should not be applied to the skin.
  • Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks outside will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Be aware of peak mosquito times. The hours of dusk to dawn are the peak hours for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that take place in the evening or early in the morning. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid getting bitten by moving indoors, covering yourself, and / or wearing repellents.

Protect your home from mosquitoes

  • Drain the standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by draining or discarding items that hold water. Check gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools, and frequently change the water in birdbaths.
  • Install or repair screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by installing tight-fitting screens on all your windows and doors.

There have been seven human cases of WNV in the state this year in Middlesex, Essex and Bristol counties, and one animal case in Middlesex County. WNV information and reports on current and historical WNV activity in Massachusetts are available on the DPH website.

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