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Be aware of mosquito-borne illnesses

LONGMEADOW — The Longmeadow Board of Health has issued the following advisory regarding mosquito-borne diseases. At this time of the summer season, the species of mosquitos that are carriers of West Nile Virus Disease and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are starting to lay eggs (larvae) that might be infected with these viruses. Once infected, mosquito larvae mature to adults mosquitos and there is a possibility of transmission of these mosquito-borne diseases to humans. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has set the risk level for mosquito-borne illness for Longmeadow as remote but not non-existent. Thusfar there are no mosquito pools in the local area that have tested positive for mosquitos infected with either of these two viruses. Also, there have been no human cases of either disease and only one mammalian case of West Nile identified anywhere statewide. Nevertheless, approaching the beginning of the two- to three-month season when these mosquito-borne illnesses peak and with recent heavy rainfall and high temperatures providing optimal conditions for mosquito replication, residents are urged to take the following precautions now:
  1. Environmental measures to prevent accumulation of water on or near homes: Repair screens to prevent entry of mosquitos inside the home; unclog gutters and downspouts that may have become clogged with debris; and regrade yards and walkways to prevent ponding.
  2. Personal Protection: Wear mosquito repellent and long sleeves/long pants when outdoors during peak mosquito hours (dusk to dawn).
At this time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will be not be testing of birds, which are known carriers of the disease viruses. Instead, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will be testing mosquito pools, a surveillance method that is more predictive of the risk of human disease. Therefore, the Board of Health will not be picking up dead crows and robins for West Nile Virus testing as had been done in past summer seasons. Residents are advised to double wrap any dead birds found on their property and dispose of the package in the regular trash. This advisory will be updated during the summer and early fall as additional information is received. Bookmark and Share

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