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West Nile found in Clinton.

CLINTON -- Clinton is number one, but it is not an enviable place to be in this case.

The Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Wednesday that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in a mosquito sample collected in Clinton on July 3. It is the first confirmed sample in the state this year. No human cases of WNV or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been detected so far this year.

According to the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project, the trap was located off Berlin Street. Working with the Clinton and Berlin boards of health, spraying in the area is planned for Thursday, July 10. According to the agency, catch basins were recently treated in this area to stop emergence of mosquito species that can carry WNV, and additional surveillance traps have been set up to gauge population density and determine if additional virus can be isolated.

There are no risk level changes associated with this finding.

"Today's findings are a reminder of the importance of protecting ourselves and our families from the threat of mosquito-borne illness,'' said DPH State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown. "Personal prevention consists of using mosquito repellents, wearing long, loose clothing to reduce skin exposure, making sure screens are tightly fitting and dumping standing water. Because of the very warm weather and the periodic thunderstorms we've been having, dumping standing water is especially important.''

WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. In 2013, there were eight human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. 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.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused 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 2 months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3 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 Co especially after heavy rains. Water troughs 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 and speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals.

Information can be found at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at (617) 983-6800. Local residents can also call the Clinton Board of Health, (978) 365-4116.
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Title Annotation:Coulter
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 11, 2014
Words:642
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