West Nile Virus detected in Falmouth mosquito

Treated area where mosquito was found will be retested
Recent hot, wet weather has made for the perfect environment for mosquitos to breed. Photo courtesy of the MA DPH site.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Thursday that a mosquito found in Falmouth has tested positive for West Nile Virus. The mosquito, according to the DPH was found at a routine sample site on Woods Hole Road in Falmouth on July 23.

Officials from the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project (CCMCP) treated the area where the mosquito was found and will return to the area on Friday to retest at the sample site.

In 2012, there were no mosquitos testing positive for West Nile Virus found in Falmouth.

The mosquito carrying West Nile Virus that was found on Tuesday is of the genus Culex, according to DPH. This variety of mosquito breeds in shallow man-made objects that collect rain water such as buckets, swimming pools and fish ponds.

According to mosquitos.org, Culex mosquitos are "persistent biters" and only the females feast on the blood of humans and animals.

Wet weather makes for an ideal breeding situation for mosquitos. Health officials caution homeowners to remove standing water in buckets and barrels from their properties. Such containers are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Anyone headed outside should wear appropriate clothing and use bug spray especially if they will be outside around dusk and in the evening--the favorite feeding time for mosquitos.

According to mosquitos.org, West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999 in New York City. It has since spread across the country.

The majority of people infected with West Nile Virus, may never show any symptoms. Those over 60 are at a great risk for illness if bitten by an infected mosquito. People with certain health issues including diabetes and cancer are also at a greater risk for illness. According to the CDC, as of July 2013, the majority of West Nile Virus activity in Massachusetts has been non-human. See the data map here.

For more information about mosquitos, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's mosquito page here.

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