Mosquito Pool Tests Positive for West Nile Virus in Boston

tiger mosquitoBoston Public Health Commission confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a mosquito pool in Jamaica Plain. No human cases of mosquito-borne illness have been reported in Boston to date.

According to Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Public Health Commission, time of year and weather are contributing factors to the presence of WNV in Boston.

“Periods of hot weather and heavy rain can contribute to the appearance of West Nile, and people should take some simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” Barry said in a statement.

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.

Jeffrey Dvorin, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, says the risk of exposure can be greatly reduced by following these simple safety measures:

Use insect repellents

  • Bug sprays with DEET or picaridin provide the longest lasting protection.
  • If you use sunscreen and insect repellent, put sunscreen on first and the repellent last.
  • Spray repellent on your clothing, not just exposed skin.
  • Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.

Know your environment

  • Don’t let children play around water that has been standing for a few days, like puddles or small pockets of rainwater, as they may be a mosquito breeding ground. If you have a kiddie pool in your yard, drain it daily to keep the water from becoming stagnant.
  • Leave doors shut and make sure all your windows have screens without holes. Replace or repair screens if necessary.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when weather allows, especially when in areas with large mosquito populations like swamps or woods.