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Mosquito Pool Near Stoneham Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

A mosquito pool in Melrose on the Melrose/Stoneham line recently tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to a Melrose Health Department press statement.

A mosquito pool in Melrose has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the  announced in a press statement on Tuesday morning.

The trap that yielded the positive West Nile test is located on the Melrose/Stoneham line, the release stated. The State Laboratory Institute performs testing for WNV and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in mosquitoes each summer, according to the state Department of Public Health, and testing for virus infection in animal and human specimens year-round.

The Melrose pool is one of 175 pools statewide that have tested positive this summer for WNV and 48 for EEE. There have been no cases of either disease thus far this year in humans or animals.

Melrose health officials said in the release that September is an active time for mosquito-borne diseases, including (WNV) and (EEE) virus infection, and that the peak time for transmission of these viruses is generally in late summer and early fall.

"Many of the sports and recreational activities in which students are likely to participate occur during the evening and dusk hours, the time of the day when many kinds of mosquitoes are actively biting," the release said. "Other mosquitoes feed during daylight hours. Active participation in outdoor sports increases our availability to mosquitoes. Physical exertion and sweating may also change individual attractiveness to mosquitoes and may decrease the time that repellents are effective."

The Melrose Health Department recommends the following steps that can be taken to reduce the change of infection:

Avoid Outdoor Activity During Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito biting times for many mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors during peak mosquito activity time.

Apply Mosquito Repellent when you go outdoors. A wide variety of mosquito repellent products are available. The most effective repellents contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin (KBR 3023) or Permethrin. Always follow the instructions on the product label. DEET and Picaridin products can be used directly on skin and on clothing. Permethrin products can be used on clothing but not directly on skin.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus has also demonstrated efficacy against mosquito bites, with protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET. Products containing DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age.  Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years of age.

Apply only as much repellent as needed. Choose a product that will provide sufficient protection for the amount of time that you will be spending outdoors. Saturation does not increase repellent efficacy. Product labels often indicate the length of time that you can expect protection from a product. Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes. Avoid applying repellents to portions of children's hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.  Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.  Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.

More information on mosquito-borne diseases, on protecting yourself from bites by mosquitoes and on safe application of mosquito repellents can also be obtained by visiting the MDPH website on arboviral (mosquito-transmitted) diseases.

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