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West Nile Virus Risk Level Raised in Wellesley

The level was raised after there was a recent confirmed case in Newton.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has alerted town officials that the West Nile Virus risk level has been raised to “moderate” in Wellesley.

The state department alerted the Wellesley Health Department after a , according to Leonard Izzo, Wellesley director of public health. The Newton woman is the fourth case this year in Massachusetts.

There have been confirmed cases in Cambridge and Berkshire County so far this year.

Izzo, who is the chair of the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project's executive committee, said despite the proximity of the most recent case, mosquito numbers have been down in Wellesley.

"The past couple trappings in town have come up with relatively low numbers of mosquitoes," he said.

Mosquito pools in Wayland and Framingham have tested positive for WNV this season. The risk level was at "low" in Wellesley prior to the recent case.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides the following tips to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with 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.
  • 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

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains. Water troughs 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 owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. If an animal is diagnosed with 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.

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