AUBURN – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified the Auburn Board of Health that there were West Nile Virus (WNV) positive mosquito samples from two testing areas in the Northeast quadrant of the town. These tests were confirmed by the State Laboratory from mosquitoes collected on August 2, 2016. Recently, the risk level for WNV in Auburn was changed from low to moderate due to recent WNV activity in nearby Worcester borders. This risk level remains the same. It is important to note that there are no human cases of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis at this time.
In response to this notification the Board of Health has coordinated with Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control to spray the area of concern to help mitigate the threat of WNV. Further spraying may be necessary, and will be announced as needed.
Residents can follow these spray precautions: Please close street facing windows and keep pets inside between sunset and midnight if possible to allow a more thorough application. Accidental exposures are not expectations to cause any significant concerns. No precautions are needed the day after the application, all residues will have evaporated.
While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
Since WNV and EEE are both transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, the public is reminded to protect themselves and their environment from the threat of illnesses caused by mosquitoes by implementing the following tips:
Avoid Mosquito Bites & Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [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 in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
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 in areas of high risk.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home & Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding 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. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Water troughs and buckets provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse, llama and alpaca owners should keep animals in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617- 626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be accessed from the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800 or the Auburn Board of Health at 508-832-7703.