West Nile Virus detected in Amherst

On Wednesday afternoon, September 3rd, the Town issued the following press release concerning West Nile Virus being detected in Amherst:    

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Mosquitoes
Amherst, Massachusetts

Press Release 1

DATE:                   September 3, 2008; 5:00 PM                                                                          

CONTACT:         Epi Bodhi, Director, Health Department, Town of Amherst
Julie Federman, Public Health Nurse, Town of Amherst

TOWN:                 Amherst, Massachusetts

PHONE:               413-259-3077 – 8:00AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Amherst, Massachusetts.  In 2007, 7271 mosquito samples were tested throughout Massachusetts for WNV and sixty-five samples were positive. Amherst had no WNV positive mosquito samples identified in 2007.

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

People have an important role to play in monitoring for WNV and protecting themselves and their loved ones.

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. 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% 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 - 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.

Report Dead Birds 

  Dead crows or blue jays may be a sign that WNV is circulating among the birds and mosquitoes in an area. Call 1-866-MASS WNV to report a dead bird. By reporting dead birds, you can play an important role in monitoring WNV.  

The Amherst Health Department will continue to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies.  The Amherst Health Department has Fact Sheets on West Nile Virus available at the Health Department located on the 2nd Floor, Bangs Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst  and Town Hall, Mezzanine, 4 Boltwood Walk, Amherst.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2008 can be found on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph under A for arbovirus in the Health Topics A to Z index.  Recorded information about WNV is also available by calling the MDPH Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968).



Recent Comments