For the second time this year, a sample of mosquitoes in Hamilton has tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The latest positive test came Sept. 17 near Chebacco Lake, according to Hamilton Health Agent Leslie Whelan. Instead of spaying based on the positive test result, which is done in several other North Shore communities, the Hamilton Board of Health in encouraging residents to take preventative measures to avoid contracting the disease.
The Board of Health voted last spring, and again reaffirmed its positive this fall, that it "has not found sufficient evidence that truck spraying is an effective means of reducing the risk of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) disease in humans."
"If something extraordinary happens, then (the Board of Health) would meet to discuss," Whelen said. "Folks should assume mosquitoes carry WNV and EEE and take appropriate precautions."
The board offers tips for personal protective measures and recommends draining standing water in your yard as the "best protection against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases."
Preventative measures to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases include:
- Minimize time spent outdoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
- Weather permitting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing.
- Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors. Read the label and reapply as needed. Generally, higher percentage of active ingredients last longer, but are otherwise not more effective.
- DEET products should not be used on infants under 2 months of age. Children older than two months should use products with DEET concentrations of 30% or less. Always read the product label to determine the percentage of DEET, and reapply as needed.
- Some natural products, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus, are as effective as low concentrations of DEET, though not as long-lasting.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin.
- Install or repair window and door screens.
- Use mosquito netting over infant carriers when outdoors.
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes by draining standing water (places where mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed).
- At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, tarps, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
- Tires are accepted at DPW Yard on “Ewaste” days (third Saturday, 8am-noon)