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West Nile Found in Wenham Mosquito, Spraying Planned for Tuesday Night

A mosquito infected with West Nile virus has been found in Wenham and spraying is planned for Tuesday night near the Iron Rail property.

West Nile virus has been discovered in mosquitoes in Wenham and spraying will be conducted on Tuesday night near where the infected mosquito was discovered.

The announcement was made in a memo posted to the town of Wenham’s website on Tuesday.

The infected mosquito was found near the at Iron Rail off Grapevine Road.

“Additional mosquito surveillance traps will be set up in Wenham to determine how wide spread the issue is,” according to the announcement.

It is the first mosquito found with West Nile virus in Wenham this year and the 121st mosquito with the virus found this year in the state.

Spraying will be done on Tuesday night at about 7:30 p.m. near the Iron Rail property, according to the announcement.

"It's mostly swampland and there's not many houses around," said Jerry Donnellan, chairman of the Board of Health.

The spraying will be concentrated near the highway garage, down the driveway off Grapevine Road, he said.

Health Agent Greg Bernard said this was the first time in the past three years, since he became Wenham health agent, that a mosquito has tested positive for West Nile virus in Wenham.

The infected mosquito was found in a test conducted on Friday and Bernard said his office received word on Monday. Since then, the Board of Health gave the OK to conduct the spraying, he said.

"They are going to be in other areas so we thought that it would be good to come to Wenham," Bernard said.

The cost of the spraying is included in the town's annual payments to Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District.

Nobody could immediately be reached for comment at the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District, which will conduct the spraying.

West Nile Virus “can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis,” according to a fact sheet compiled by the state Department of Public Health. People age 50 and older are at the greatest risk of “severe infection.” It is most commonly spread through mosquito bites.

The mosquitoes most likely to carry and transmit West Nile virus like to live and reproduce in "an-made ponds" rather than swamps, Bernard said. That means that residents can take steps to prevent the further spread of the virus by emptying water that has accumulated in bird feeders, flower pits and spare tires in the yard.

"Most residents can take preventive measures themselves," he said.

More details about the discovery of West Nile virus in mosquito in Wenham, about the virus in general and about mosquito spraying can all be found in PDFs attached to this story.

Simple Tips to Avoid Mosquito Bites

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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites

Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Apply Insect Repellent When You Go Outdoors

Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, 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 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Michelle Bailey September 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Remember the DEET and always have kids wash it off when the come in for the night.

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