West Nile Virus in Watertown!

“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has notified the Watertown Health Department that mosquitoes in Watertown have tested positive for West Nile Virus elevating the risk for human exposure to West Nile Virus” according to the Watertown Tab.

Bites of infected mosquitoes can cause transmission to humans and animals of West Nile Virus.

The West Nile Virus may cause swelling of the brain but most if infected with WNV will experience no symptoms or very mild symptoms and will recover on their own. People over 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe WNV disease.

Severe symptoms occur in less than 1% of people and can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. In severe cases, intensive medical therapy can be administered in hospitals.

 How do I protect myself?

Avoid exposure to mosquitoes by avoiding swampy areas especially at sunset. Remove standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Check your yard for: containers, pots, children’s toys, swimming pools, old tires, clogged gutters. Keep grass short and bushes trimmed so mosquitoes do not hide there.

If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks. Cover baby carriages and playpens that are outdoors with mosquito netting.

Use a mosquito repellent when outdoors! CDC recommends the use of products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not apply repellents under your clothing. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years.

A useful tool for repellant choices is available at http://pi.ace.orst.edu/repellents/.

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