(Saugus, MA) UPDATED August 30, 2017 – Earlier this month the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that West Nile virus (WNV) was detected in a mosquito collected from Saugus. This positive test, which was conducted by the MDPH, is considered to be low risk to humans as the mosquito the virus was detected in is considered a “dirty mosquito” that only bites birds.
This positive test was found during routine testing that is conducted throughout mosquito season. To date, 3,687 mosquito samples statewide have been tested for WNV and 127 samples were positive.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state, and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
The Town has treated all storm drains and catch basins with larvicide and conducted targeted spraying, and has another targeted area spraying scheduled for Tuesday night, September 5, 2017, weather permitting. The Town and will continue to work with the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control & Wetland Management District to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of WNV transmission. The Town and the Board of Health will continue to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies to take all the necessary preventative precautions and to closely monitor any virus activity.
People can also help to protect themselves and their loved ones by taking a few, common-sense precautions:
Avoid 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. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.
- 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% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water – Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in 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.
- Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
About The Town of Saugus
The Town of Saugus, Massachusetts, is a family-friendly, historic neighborhood Town located along the north shore, ten miles north of Boston. First settled in 1629, Saugus is home to historic sites, top-tier public services, and a thriving business community. Strong community support, a forward-thinking approach to town government, rich recreational opportunities, affordable choices, and easy access to all the amenities that Boston has to offer – they all contribute to make Saugus a Town where businesses flourish and families make their home.