Late August and early September means back-to-school activities, including the resumption of school-related outdoor sports, and while the weather is good, more barbecues and other outdoor recreational activities. However, late summer is also an active time for mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus infection. The peak time for transmission of these viruses is generally in late summer and early fall.
Residents are reminded to take the following steps to reduce the chance of infection:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 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% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
- 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.
- Students playing after-school sports into late afternoon or early evening hours should carry mosquito repellent and use it as necessary.
- Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes
Additional information may be found on the following websites:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH): https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases
Arbovirus Risk Level Daily Update: http://www.mosquitoresults.com/
For inquiries on mosquitoes or how to control them, contact the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project (EMMCP) at (781) 899-5730 or visit their website at: https://sudbury.ma.us/emmcp/