First West Nile Virus-Positive Mosquitoes Detected in Boston

For the first time this summer, mosquito pools in Boston have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the Boston Public Health Commission reported today. Two positive mosquito pools were found in West Roxbury. There have been no confirmed human cases of WNV in Boston this year.

"It’s that time of year when it’s not unexpected to find mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus in the Boston area," said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Public Health Commission.

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. 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 and, when possible, wearing clothing with long sleeves and pants, she said. “People should also mosquito-proof their home by making sure that their window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house," Dr. Barry said.

To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, she advises 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 recently has begun putting larvicide in catch basins in Boston neighborhoods, a process designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes.

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

This program aired on July 8, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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