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More mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Boston

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Add Back Bay/Fenway and Jamaica Plain to the growing list of Boston neighborhoods where mosquito pools have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV).

Previously, WNV-positive mosquito pools had been detected in West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Roslindale, East Boston, South Boston and Dorchester.

Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Health raised the risk level for WNV infection in Boston from low to moderate. Despite the increased positive mosquito pools, there have been no confirmed human cases of WNV in Boston this year.

While WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, WNV poses very low risk to humans, Dr. Anita Barry said. But even that low risk can be reduced if people take a few simple steps to protect themselves and their families.

Those steps include:

• Using insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting

• Wearing clothing with long sleeves and pants, when possible

• Mosquito-proofing your home by ensuring that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house

• Preventing mosquitoes from breeding in standing water by turning over unused flower pots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; removing leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; disposing of or covering old tires; and covering swimming pools and kiddie pools when not in use.

The city is putting larvicide in catch basins in Boston neighborhoods to reduce the number of mosquitoes.

For more information on WNV, call the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611.

Boston Health Commission