About Town: West Nile Threat Increases
Carrying mosquitoes found in more towns around Lexington.
Oh great, now we really have to slather on the bug repellant (hopefully green and environmentally safe).
Recently, we reported that West Nile was found in Arlington, which is a little to close to home.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a statement alerting residents that Burlington and Belmont also tested positive for West Nile.
Following that news, Health Department Director Gerard Cody today issued an updated press release. I'll relay some, I'll give you the link at the end of the article.
Here's the good news: "Lexington has not had any WNV positive mosquito or human cases so far this season," the press release stated.
It's followed by not-so-good news: "Although WNV has not been detected in Lexington yet this season, residents should still take all proper precautions since ithese insects can fly up to 2 miles," the release said.
Here's the more confusing bit. We're to be on the lookout for the Culex mosquito. What is a Culex mosquito? And really, once the little bugger lands on our arm or leg do take time to examine the thing or just smash it to kingdom come?
I prefer the smash and flick.
"Culex mosquitoes are the primary vectors of West Nile Virus. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito," the release said.
The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state, and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. "While most mosquito species develop in wetlands, Culex mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in catchbasins, clogged rain gutters, unused tires, buckets and other water holding containers," the release said.
I'll walk through my property trying to find those tiny ponds of water. You probably should too.
Finally, here's some information on protection once the sneaky little buggers have hatched.
Peak mosquite hours are from dusk to dawn and feeding times for these parasites. Wear long sleeves and pants (yes, in this heat) and use repellant.
The press release urges us to "Use a repellent with picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) according to the instructions on the product label."
I hate the idea of DEET, but West Nile is even more offensive.
If you do decide on a DEET product, please don't use it on infants and the oil of lemon eucalyptus shouldn't be used on children ages 3 and under.
More is available from the MDPH Health website.