An unidentified Cambridge man in his 70s is the second person in Middlesex County to be infected by the West Nile Virus this year, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.
The man remained hospitalized as of last week, according to a DHHS press statement.
"The announcement is a compelling indicator that the threat of mosquito-borne illness is widespread, and people should continue taking simple, common-sense steps to protect themselves and their families against mosquito bites," said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach in the statement. "Use insect repellant, cover exposed skin, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are their most active."
West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes have been found in 67 communities from nine counties so far during 2012, according to the press release. Testing conducted on July 24 found infected mosquitoes in communities near Stoneham, including Malden, Medford and Melrose.
Some West Nile Virus prevention tips include (Courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health):
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 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.
- 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.
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 discarding 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. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should 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. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. If an animal is diagnosed with West Nile Virus or eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
For more information about West Nile and EEE, check out our previous coverage of these viruses: