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West Nile Virus Found in Mosquitoes in Worcester; Spraying of designated area set for Thursday, Sept. 16

For Immediate Release: 9/15/2021 6:15 pm

The state Department of Public Health has informed the City of Worcester’s Division of Public Health that West Nile Virus has been detected in a collection of mosquitoes in Worcester.

In coordination with the Division of Public Health and Department of Inspectional Services, the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP) will spray in one designated area of concern Thursday night, Sept. 16 between 8 p.m. and midnight.

Spraying will be done in the area of West Boylston Street, Fales Street, Burncoat Street, Quinapoxet Lane and East Mountain Street. A map of the spraying area, and a complete list of streets, can be found here.

Residents within this area should follow these spray precautions:

  • Close street-facing windows and keep pets inside between sunset and midnight if possible to allow a more thorough application. This type of pesticide is similar to ones used for flea and tick control.
  • Remain inside during the application and for 15-20 minutes afterwards.
  • Accidental exposure is not expected to cause any health concerns in most people.
  • No precautions are needed the day after the application as all residues will have evaporated.
  • Residents with gardens are advised to wash off vegetables before consuming them.
  • There is no need to cover pools as the spray is an oil-based product and will dissipate quickly.
  • Any “outside air” controls on older window unit air conditioners should be turned off.

Residents have the ability to opt out of spraying in front of their property by visiting this link on the state’s website. Those wishing to opt out of the spraying program should do so online as soon as possible. A fact sheet from the state on ground spraying of mosquitoes for West Nile Virus is available here.

West Nile is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While West Nile can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

The City of Worcester has partnered with the CMMCP to offer comprehensive mosquito control services and programs throughout the City.

Together with the City of Worcester’s Division of Public Health and the Department of Inspectional Services, CMMCP will provide education about mosquito biology and personal protection, mosquito surveillance, ditch maintenance, research, tire recycling, beaver control, water mitigation and mosquito spraying. CMMCP staff will evaluate locations for trapping and testing in addition to working with the Department of Public Works & Parks on mitigating mosquito breeding areas in catch basins. 

The public is urged 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.

Tips for Avoiding Mosquito Bites:

  • 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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
  • Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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 percent or less on older children.

 Mosquito-Proof Your Home:

  • Drain Standing Water - Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently. All property should be maintained to prohibit the formation of stagnant pools of water, which may attract and harbor mosquitoes and other insects. Properties with these conditions can be reported to the Department of Inspectional Services via the City’s customer
    service center at 508-929-1300.
  • Install or Repair Screens - Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Information about West Nile Virus and reports of activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website. The MDPH can also be contacted at 617-624-6000.

For more information on the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project, including information on spraying and requesting service, please visit www.cmmcp.org or contact them directly at 508-393-3055.

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