Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Health & Wellness

Campus Life

Mind the Mosquitoes

Posted on August 2, 2010

This is a public health reminder about the precautions you should take against possible exposure to mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and other dangerous insect-borne viruses such as the West Nile Virus (WNV).

Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) report finding mosquitoes carrying EEE in Southeastern Massachusetts. There are recent reports of human cases of EEE and WNV in the state. The risk of exposure to EEE will remain until the first hard frost. West Nile Virus can remain a concern throughout the fall.

Public health officials recommend the following steps to reduce your exposure risk:

  • Avoid outdoor activity during peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito biting times. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
  • Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellent when you go outdoors. The most effective repellents contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin (KBR 3023) or Permethrin. Always follow the instructions on the product label.
  • Use window screens with open windows. Students should notify their RA or AC if their window screens need repairs.
  • Empty open containers of standing water regularly to limit breeding areas for mosquitoes.

In addition, sick or dead birds or other animals may be a sign that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus or other insect-borne diseases are circulating in the area. If you encounter a sick or dead animal, do not handle it. Please call Wheaton Public Safety at 508-286-8213. They will arrange for collection of the animal and testing with local authorities, as warranted.

College officials will continue to monitor this situation and update you as appropriate. More information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus is available at the DPH website: http://www.mass.gov/dph

Be well. 

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