Why Should I Care About a West Nile Positive Mosquito?

Why should I care about a West Nile Positive Mosquito?
West Nile Virus can make some people very sick. West Nile is a virus that is in our environment all the time. In summer, there is an increased chance that a mosquito could bite an animal with West Nile first and then bite a human. State Agencies monitor for mosquitoes that carry disease and report that to the Public Health Departments at the local city/town.

What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?
West Nile Virus (WNV) arrived in the US about 20 years ago and has spread to most of the Northeast. It arrived in birds brought to a NY Zoo and soon spread to our native bird population. The West Nile Virus (WNV) is primarily passed to and from birds by mosquitoes who prefer to bite birds (yes, some mosquitoes have preferred animal hosts!). In the summer, when mosquitos number rise there is an increased chance that a mosquito that bites a bird could bite a human next (yes, mosquitoes bite several times during their life!).

How does the Commonwealth monitor for West Nile?
State agencies monitor for mosquitoes known to carry diseases to humans all summer long. When a mosquito tests positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) or any other mosquito-transmitted disease, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports it to the local public health office. The local public health office has a plan. Plans vary by health department guidelines.

Is there an action I can take?
It is important to be aware of the risk and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites all the time. Dump out standing water, use mosquito repellents, and be aware that mosquito control is not just a way to make evening activity more enjoyable but also can help you avoid contact with West Nile Virus.