Jul 29, 2014
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West Nile Virus Detected in Peabody Mosquito Sample

City urges residents to take precautions, such as wearing insect repellent and long-sleeved clothing. Also eliminate standing water around homes and make sure screens are intact.

West Nile Virus Detected in Peabody Mosquito Sample
A positive sample of a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus has now been collected in Peabody.

Pesticide spraying was already performed by the Northeast Mass. Mosquito Control District in West Peabody in two rounds this summer as WNV was detected in insect samples in neighboring towns.

A public notice was first issued by the city late Friday afternoon, saying the state Department of Public Health found evidence of WNV in a recently collected mosquito sample. The exact location within the city was not disclosed.

The notice also did not say whether further spraying would be conducted.

City health officials stress that no human or animal cases of WNV have been detected at this time, but again urge residents to take precautions against mosquito bites and to make sure their homes are mosquito-proofed.

The health departments says WNV can infect people of all ages, but those over 50 are at a high risk for severe infection.

"Even though summer is over, mosquitoes will be with us throughout the fall until the first frost. It is important to take a few common-sense precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones," reads the notice.

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.
  • Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. 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, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These products have restrictions, so make sure to follow the instructions on the product label.

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 flower pots 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.

Last year, Peabody had two WNV-positive mosquito samples and two Eastern Equine Encephalitis-positive samples.

The city says it has worked closely with the state DPH and the Northeast Mass. Mosquito Control District throughout the season to reduce the risk of illness spread by mosquitoes.

Those measures include testing mosquito pools twice each week from May to September, treating catch basins throughout the city with pesticides and targeted spraying, which was conducted earlier this summer.

You can find more information about EEE and WNV at  www.mass.gov/dph/wnv or call the Peabody Health Department at 978-538-5926.

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