As it has in many area communities, the West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Burlington.
According to a release by the Board of Health, which was carried on The Daily Times Chronicle, the virus was found in mosquitoes collected in town on Aug. 22.
According to the Board of Health, West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes have been found in 67 Massachusetts communities from nine counties so far during 2012 including Billerica, Reading, Waltham, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, and Wakefield.
Cases of human infection of West Nile Virus are up around the entire country this year. ABC News reported today that the CDC said there have been a total of 1,590 reported cases of West Nile virus in the United States, a 40 percent rise from last week's cases. There have also been 66 deaths reported.
Most cases of human infection have been located in Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.
In Massachusetts there have been four reported cases of human infection, Boston.com reported yesterday.
The most recent was a case of a , Newton Patch reported yesterday. Prior to that announcement, there had been three human cases of WNV in Massachusetts – two in Middlesex County and one in Berkshire County.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) virus can be transmitted from mosquitoes to humans through bites. The insects acquire the disease by biting infected birds. Humans can also become infected directly from birds, so the CDC is warning people not to handle the bodies of any dead birds they may find.
Most people, about 80 percent, who are infected by the virus show no symptoms, the CDC states. Some infected people experience fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
In rare cases, people infected will demonstrate serious symptoms, including a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
The Burlington Board of Health also has advice on avoiding mosquito bites and reducing the population of the insects posted on their web site.
The following are preventative actions that residents should take to avoid mosquito bites:
- Be aware that mosquitoes are active in damp shady areas, during cloudy humid days, at dusk, dawn and during the night.
- To protect yourself from mosquitoes use mosquito repellent and wear protective clothing. Use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and follow the directions on the label. Never use DEET on infants. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus should not be used on children under three. Although uncomfortable during hot days, long-sleeve shirts and long pants can provide a layer of protection.
- Cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors. Baby carriages and playpens should be covered with mosquito netting.
- Fix any holes in screens and screen doors and replace worn weather stripping.
The following are actions that residents should take around their homes to reduce mosquito populations:
- To prevent a yard from becoming a source for Culex mosquitoes, homeowners should make a thorough inspection of their property and remove, empty, cover or treat any water-holding containers. During the summer, mosquito larvae can complete their development in water within a week.
- Containers where mosquitoes commonly lay eggs include neglected swimming pools, water in loose fitting pool covers or tarps, un-screened rain barrels, rimless tires, and plastic toys.
- Tires should be disposed of properly or stored inside.
- Rubbish barrels, wheelbarrows and small boats should be covered or stored upside down.
- The water in wading pools and birdbaths should be changed weekly.
- Infrequently used pools should be covered or properly maintained.
- Rainwater collection barrels should be screened, emptied once a week or treated with products containing BTI.