The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced on June 6 that a mosquito pool in Jamaica Plain has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to a press release.
“It is typical to find West Nile Virus in Boston at this time of year due to the periods of hot weather,” said BPHC Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Lo, according to the press release. “This does not mean the average person is at increased risk of getting WNV. However, people should still take simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, but it poses very low risk to most people. In 2017, there were no human cases of WNV infection diagnosed in Boston residents. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
The risk can be further reduced by using insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn and, when possible, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. Residents should also make sure that their window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside. To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, BPHC advises residents to empty standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
The City of Boston, in partnership with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project, has placed larvicide in catch basins and wetlands, a process designed to reduce the mosquito population. Targeted, truck-mounted aerosol spraying is also performed to help control the mosquito population in certain areas of Boston.
If residents have any questions related to the spraying or any questions on mosquitoes, they may call the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project at (781) 899-5730. For more information on sprayings, please visit bphc.org/mosquitocontrol.
For more information on mosquito-borne illness, call the Boston Public Health Commission at (617) 534-5611 or visit bphc.org/mbi.