West Nile Virus Detected in Fairhaven Mosquitoes
Fairhaven residents should take extra precautions against mosquitoes, after West Nile Virus was detected in mosquitoes collected in a trap in town.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported that mosquitoes collected in one of its Fairhaven traps tested positive for West Nile Virus on July 6, Fairhaven Health Agent Patricia Fowle confirmed to WBSM News. She said the exact location of the positive test has not provided, but that residents across town should take precautions to protect themselves and their families.
"This is early in the season for Fairhaven," Fowle said in an email. "However, over recent years it is hoped that all our residents have come to understand that summer brings mosquitoes and ticks, and the diseases they carry. Understanding the value of personal protection and following the provided attached educational reminder is key."
In an advisory issued Tuesday, Fowle noted that "while West Nile Virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection."
The following precautions are suggested:
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 repellant.
• 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-mtoluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
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, 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.
While Fairhaven continues to work closely with the MDPH and Bristol County Mosquito Control, locally it is placing larvicide in all catchbasins in town, providing educational information on the town website and Facebook page, and assisting homeowners who wish their properties to be included in mosquito spraying done by Bristol County Mosquito Control.