Local News

Mosquitos with West Nile virus discovered in Brookline

The city's Department of Health is advising residents to take precautions.

West Nile Virus has been discovered in mosquitos in Brookline. (James Gathany/CDC via AP, File)

The Brookline Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that West Nile virus was detected in some mosquito samples collected in the city.

The risk level for West Nile in Brookline remains low, the Department of Public Health said, but it is encouraging residents to be aware of the risks posed by mosquito-borne viruses and to take precautions.

In Massachusetts, two mosquito-borne viruses — West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are monitored by public health agencies. The period of highest risk for getting either disease is from late July until the first frost, the health department said.

The City of Brookline has applied larvicide to all catch basins and some wetland areas to prevent hatching of new mosquitoes.


Mosquitoes get West Nile and EEE by biting infected birds, the health department said. People and animals can then get these diseases when bitten by an infected mosquito.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 80% of people infected with West Nile will experience no symptoms. The other 20% will develop a fever, and other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

Most people with WNV will recover completely, the CDC said, but can experience fatigue and weakness for a few months after infection.


About one in 150 people infected with West Nile develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, the CDC said.

Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis, according to the CDC.

Severe illness can occur in people of any age, but people over 60 are at greater risk, the CDC said. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.


Anyone experiencing symptoms of severe illness should contact their healthcare provider, the CDC said.

Below are some suggestions from the Brookline Department of Public Health to prevent mosquito bites.

Tips for avoiding mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors
  • Avoid areas that tend to have a lot of mosquitoes, such as wetlands or swampy areas
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors
  • Do not go outside after dusk or before dawn, as these are peak mosquito feeding times

How to mosquito-proof your home:

  • Drain standing or stagnant water in and around your home or business, as mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water
  • Check rain gutters and drains for standing water
  • Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools
  • Change water in birdbaths frequently
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors, making sure they are tight
  • Repair leaking pipes and outdoor faucets
  • Keep your grass short and the bushes near your house trimmed

Anyone with questions about West Nile virus or mosquito-borne illnesses should contact the Brookline Department of Public Health at 617-730-2300.

Information about West Nile and reports of current and historic activity in Massachusetts can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website.


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