BURLINGTON - The Burlington Board of Health confirmed today that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has changed the West Nile Virus (WNV) risk level from moderate to high for Burlington. MDPH has raised the WNV risk level due to findings of WNV in humans, an animal and multiple positive mosquitoes in communities near Burlington. WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness.

By taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones:

• Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

• Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

• Apply insect repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to the instructions on the product label.

• Drain standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check gutters, drains, unused flowerpots/containers, plastic toys, and wading pools; change water in birdbaths frequently. During the summer, mosquito larvae can complete their development in water within a week.

• Properly maintain unused swimming pools. Mosquitoes commonly lay eggs in neglected swimming pools and water in loose fitting pool covers or tarps.

• Install or repair screens. Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

For further information, log onto the MDPH web site at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito. If residents have any questions about mosquitoes or how to control them, contact the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730 or the Burlington Board of Health at 781-270-1955.

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