Send your comments and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr.
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cambridge Health Alliance
Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Ctr.
Children's Hospital Boston
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center
Mass. General Hospital
Mass. Health Law
New England Baptist Hospital
Short White Coat
Tufts-New England Medical Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center
University of Massachusetts
VA Medical Centers
A Healthy Blog
Running A Hospital
Nature Network Boston
SciBos - Corie Lok's blog
Nurse at small
Dr. Gwenn Is In
Healthy Children blog
Other Globe Blogs
Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Dry summer has been bad news for mosquitoes
By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff
A dry summer has yielded at least one benefit: fewer mosquitoes carrying highly lethal Eastern equine encephalitis.
A state health report presented today shows that through Friday, disease trackers had found only 22 pools of mosquitoes carrying the virus. That compares with 121 pools of infected mosquitoes through the same period last year.
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state's director of communicable disease control, attributed the decline to the lack of rainfall, which is necessary for mosquitoes to breed robustly. The lack of rain, DeMaria said, has been most pronounced in the southeastern corner of the state, long recognized as a hotbed of Eastern equine activity.
Another mosquito-borne ailment, West Nile virus, appears to be at a level similar to last year, DeMaria said.
Eastern equine is the deadliest of all ailments spread by mosquitoes, killing one-third to one-half of people who contract the illness. No human cases of Eastern equine have been reported in Massachusetts this year.
Three cases of West Nile have been documented in the state, but investigators said they do not believe any of those infections was acquired in Massachusetts. Two of the people with the disease were visiting Massachusetts and appear to have contracted the virus before arriving in the Bay State. Investigators said the third patient, a Boston man, was exposed while in Montana.
To avoid contact with infected mosquitoes, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends limiting outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, peak biting times for mosquitoes. Otherwise, wear as much clothing as comfortable and apply insect repellent such as DEET, permethrin, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
DEET should not be used on infants under the age of 2 months 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 3 years old.