Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus were found in Milford and Ashland during routine tests, public health officials said Wednesday.

No residents in either town have reported being diagnosed with the virus, but officials are warning the public to be vigilant in protecting themselves.

Milford Health Agent Paul Mazzuchelli said the virus was detected in a mosquito found in a trap set by the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Program in the southeast corner of Milford near Central and Mount Pleasant streets.

The finding was confirmed Wednesday after testing was conducted in Boston, he said.

“Catch basins will be treated in this area to stop the emergence of mosquito species that can carry (the virus), and additional surveillance traps have been set up to gauge population density and determine if additional virus can be isolated,” Milford officials said in a press release.
In Ashland, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were found in the western area of town in neighborhoods bordering High Street, Frankland Road and West Union Street, according to the health department.

Pesticides will be sprayed in both towns Thursday night to control the mosquito population.

“The spraying to be conducted is the same type of truck-mounted spraying that occurs every summer,” Ashland public health officials said in a statement. “Streets will be sprayed with truck-mounted equipment after sunset, and should conclude by midnight. Generally, there is no need to relocate during mosquito control spraying.”

Mosquitoes need water to breed so residents are advised to eliminate standing water in their yards by removing items such as dog bowls, plastic toys, plant saucers and sandboxes.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who contract West Nile virus do not show symptoms, though about 1 in 5 people generally develop a fever.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile are common in Massachusetts but less than 1 percent of people infected develop a serious illness, which can sometimes be fatal. People over the age of 50 are more prone to developing severe symptoms.

“I think (people) should be more concerned than panicked,” Mazzuchelli said.

Still, officials are urging the public to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, dressing in long-sleeved clothing and repairing screens on windows and doors.

“The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes,” both departments said. “Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.”

This Article was written By Christopher Gavin for the Milford Daily News
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 2:29 PM
Updated at 10:37 AM

Christopher Gavin can be reached at 508 634-7582 or cgavin@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @c_gavinMDN

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