Protecting yourself from mosquito-borne diseases this summer

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(WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that the West Nile Virus was detected in mosquitoes for the first time this year in the Boston suburb of Belmont.

The virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito – with individuals over the age of 50 at high risk of infection. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning.

The DPH also suggests applying insect repellent when outdoors. The repellent should have EPA-registered ingredients such as DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 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. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Long layered clothing, like long sleeves, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes can help reduce bites as well. Consider protecting your pets with repellents and vaccinations.

Animals owners can reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools, especially after heavy rains.

“If we are going to take a walk we will put it on a half hour before we go and then that’s about it so we usually walk at dusk with the whole family, I have to take the dog out every now and then but that’s about it,” said Mark Dargi of Westfield.

According to health officials, there is no elevated risk-level or the risk-level change associated with this finding. No human or animal cases of West Nile virus or EEE have been detected so far this year.

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