For Immediate Release: 9/23/2021 4:15 pm
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has raised the risk level of West Nile Virus to moderate in the City of Worcester.
Heavy rains in recent weeks have increased the population of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus, increasing the importance of taking precautions against contracting the virus.
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 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.
The City of Worcester partners with the Central Mass Mosquito Control Project 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 provides education about mosquito biology and personal protection, mosquito surveillance, ditch maintenance, research, tire recycling, beaver control, water mitigation and mosquito spraying. CMMCP staff evaluates locations for trapping and testing, in addition to working with the Department of Public Works & Parks on mitigating mosquito breeding areas in catch basins.
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.