Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Boston

Boston health officials announced today that the first evidence of mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in Boston.
Boston health officials announced today that the first evidence of mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in Boston. Birds are the main carriers of the disease, with mosquitoes spreading the virus from crows, blue jays and ravens to humans and other mammals. (AP Photo/Ludington Daily News, Andy Klevorn)
The Boston Globe - AP

Boston health officials announced today that the first mosquitoes with the West Nile virus this season have been found in Boston.

According to the Boston Public Health Commission, mosquito pools in Jamaica Plain tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

“This is the time of year when we often begin to find mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus in Boston,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Public Health Commission, in a prepared statement. “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.”

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Mosquitoes typically contract the virus from biting infected birds, according to the BPHC website. Humans can contract West Nile virus when an infected mosquito bites them, but people can also contract the virus directly from infected birds.

The evidence of West Nile announced today is the first this season. Mosquitoes with West Nile, which have appeared in Boston every year since 2000, are most active between July and September, according to BPHC.

Health officials urge residents to take measures to prevent mosquito bites at dusk and dawn if outdoors, the time of day when mosquitoes carrying West Nile are typically active.

Take these steps to avoid bites:

1. Use mosquito repellant with DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, Picaridin, or IR535

2. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, tall socks, and long pants.

3. Limit your time outdoors during peak biting hours.

4. Seal up your house and double-check mosquito screens.

5. Remove and drain areas of standing water around your home.