Nationwide 2012 was the worst year on record for deaths caused by the mosquito-borne illness West Nile Virus. An estimated 286 people died from the illness in the US. Massachusetts reported 33 human cases of West Nile Virus in 2012. These numbers reflect the most ever recorded in a single season in Mass. As we look ahead to this season, 2013 is predicted to be just as bad, based primarily on the weather. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that become infected when they feed on infected birds and in turn these mosquitoes pass the virus onto us as they feed. Rainy summer weather means more mosquitoes because they breed in wet areas. Massachusetts usually sees the first human cases of West Nile in August.
Learning where the illness turns up first is important, and part of this is locating where infected birds turn up. The bodies of dead birds are tested in a laboratory to check for the presence of West Nile. According to the CDC, West Nile Virus has been detected in dead birds of at least 326 species. The illness is not isolated to, but is more prevalent in crows and jays. The dead birds that test positive for West Nile will be used as markers to determine which areas of the state human infection is likely to occur because the virus shows up earlier in the season in birds than in humans.
Another indicator of the presence of West Nile comes from testing mosquitoes for the presence of the virus. Of 6,828 mosquito samples collected in Massachusetts in 2012, 307 (4.5 %) were positive for WNV. Positive samples were identified in 109 towns in 9 counties. Last year in Essex County alone, 31 cases of mosquitoes tested positive for WNV and there were 4 reported human cases of the virus. All of Massachusetts remained at a moderate threat level during last year’s mosquito season. In 2012, the town of Newburyport was classified as a high threat level for West Nile Virus by the Massachusetts Dept. of Health and Human Services, while Amesbury, Haverhill and Merrimac were considered at critical threat levels last season for the illness. The risks of West Nile are hitting too close to home for most North Shore residents and they want to take measures to stay healthy and reduce the risk of contracting the illness.
Reflecting on 2012 it is important to take precautions to prevent a repeat performance of last year’s WNV cases. In order to reduce your risk of coming into contact with a potentially infected mosquito it is crucial to learn where mosquitoes like to breed and eliminate these areas from your property. We also recommend utilizing a mosquito control and prevention program to solidify the safety of you and your loved ones this season.
Inspect your property and eliminate these mosquito attractants:
- Eliminate all standing water this includes cleaning clogged roof gutters and draining flat roofs of standing water.
- Cover all standing receptacles such as rain barrels with netting.
- Keep your property free of debris, trash and grass clipping to prevent moisture accumulation.
- Completely seal cesspools and make sure all vents are screened.
- Empty and refill bird baths every few days and aerate garden pools and ponds.
- Tilt wheelbarrows and other lawn equipment with containers to prevent water from pooling, this is easily overlooked, especially after a rain.
- Empty watering cans and wading pools after use.
- Dispose of old tires and anything lying around your yard that could hold water, including tarps.
- The most important safeguard against protecting your family from the threat of West Nile is to hire a mosquito control professional to treat your property to control and prevent the presence of mosquitoes at your home.
Mosquito Squad of the North Shore specializes in preventing and controlling mosquitoes in the North Shore and surrounding areas. We are the premiere mosquito control professionals that can spray your yard at scheduled intervals to provide season-long barrier protection from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. Our service acts as a barrier from mosquitoes in a world filled with mosquito risks. Our barrier sprays are safe and effective and deliver maximum mosquito protection.
To learn more about our superior mosquito protection contact Mosquito Squad of the North Shore today. Call us today for a free quote • (978) 887 – 1177 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org