The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has detected mosquitos that have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in the Town of Winthrop prompting the Winthrop Board of Health to conduct mosquito spraying Tuesday night in the town.
The spraying occurred in the neighborhoods and streets surrounding Winthrop Golf Course.
Officials said WNV will still pose a risk until the season’s first frost and its vital that all residents take some simple precautions to avoid getting bitten.
These steps include using insect repellent when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting and, when possible, wearing clothing that includes long sleeves and pants. People can avoid attracting mosquitoes in their homes by making sure that their window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house.
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, MDPH advises limiting places around the home where standing water can collect. People should turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows, and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools and kiddy pools when not in use.
While WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, it poses very low risk to humans.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after the infected mosquito bites them.