The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday that West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes found in Auburn and Worcester. No humans have tested positive for the virus, according to the state DPH.
“Today’s announcement of the West Nile Virus detection is a reminder of the importance of protecting ourselves from the threat of mosquito-borne illness,” said Dr. Michael Hirsh, medical director for the Worcester Division of Public Health/Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance. “It’s important for the public to practice the Five D’s of prevention: avoid being outdoors during Dawn and Dusk when mosquitoes are most active; Dress in long-sleeved clothing; use insect repellent with DEET; and Drain any standing water from around your home.”
West Nile virus is a mosquito-carried virus that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease, such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. According to the Mass. DPH website, the majority of people who are infected with WNV (approximately 80%) will have no symptoms. A smaller number of people who become infected (~ 20%) will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. They may also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis. The symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Persons older than 50 years of age have a higher risk of developing severe illness.
The Town of Auburn is a member community in the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP). CMMCP will conduct free spraying of trouble areas upin resident request. You can request service through their Request Service website.
A list of schedule spray areas can be found here: https://www.cmmcp.org/home/pages/tentative-spray-areas