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Fitchburg, MA- The Department of Public Health (DPH) today reported a Culex mosquito tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), in West Fitchburg. The mosquito was collected as part of the Central Mass Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP) trapping and surveillance program. Residents are reminded that September is the month when people are most likely to develop WNV infection. WNV can infect people of all ages but people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, however fortunately the risk of human infection is low in this case as the Culex mosquito is predominantly a bird biting insect. As a precautionary measure CMMCP will be spraying the following streets in Fitchburg on Thursday night August 31, 2017.ARLINGTON ST ASHBURNHAM HILL RDBOND ST BROADWAY STCALDWELL ST CRESCENT HTS GIBSON PL GODDARD ST HASKELL ST MAIN STMOONLIGHT AVENOCKEGE STOVERLOOK AVEREAD STRIVER ST SHELDON STVALLEYVIEW CTVALLEYVIEW DRVIEW STWALLACE RDWEST STWESTMINSTER HILL RDBy spraying areas where infected mosquitoes are detected, it will reduce the number of flying insects and also kill their larvae before it can hatch. All spraying is done after sunset and ends by midnight or so. The spray machines are electric and very quiet – you may not hear the application. CMMCP cannot always get in backyards due to time and other constraints, but please note the product does drift up to 300 feet, and when we receive multiple requests from any location we may spray the entire area to achieve the maximum result. While the application takes place, and for short awhile afterwards (15-20 minutes), you should remain inside to allow the product time to drift through the area. Close your windows facing the street before the application if possible to allow a more thorough application – you may open them again 20 minutes after the truck has gone by. If the spray technician sees an open door or window he will shut down the sprayer in that area. If you have children or pets, 20 minutes later after the mist has settled it is OK to go back out, longer at your discretion. If your pets were outside or your windows were open there is no reason to panic, exposure to the pesticide would be minimal and any negative effects would not be expected. The Mass. Dept. of Public Health has information about spraying at this link: www.cmmcp.org/mosquito_spraying.pdf If you have a vegetable garden, washing with soap and water will remove any residual spray. If you have a swimming pool, there are no special precautions to take. Information on the products used by CMMCP can be found at www.cmmcp.org/products.htm. If/when you need additional service this year you will need to submit another request to our office; we do not keep a permanent spray list. “Central Mass Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP) has collaborated with the Fitchburg Board of Health and the State Department of Public Health again his year and has worked diligently to help reduce the mosquito populations which helps prevent the spread of mosquito borne disease.” “CMMCP staff under the direction of Timothy Deschamps, in addition to spraying, trapping and larvacide treatments, has removed hundreds of abandoned tires from the city this year, a huge step toward prevention.” “CMMCP has also kept streams, drainage swales and ditches flowing by removing debris and those conditions that cause standing water which allows mosquitos to breed.” “These incredible collaborations and commitments alone however show that people still have an important role to play to protect themselves as well as loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes”, said Stephen D. Curry, Director of Public Health. Avoid Mosquito Bites• 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. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.• Apply Insect Repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.Mosquito-Proof Your Home• 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 discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.• Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.More information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at: www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.###