Some mothers in Massachusetts are raising concerns that mosquito bites on their children may be lead to serious infection if not treated by doctors expeditiously. At the same time, the Department of Health is warning about increased infection of area mosquitoes and birds.
In the Gloucester Daily Times, a local mom, Jennifer Strangman, says that she recently saw a mysterious-looking mosquito bite on her child in July. Rather than the usual bump, it looked like a red bullseye and her child had a low temperature. She immediately took her child to the doctor for succesful treatment of what was the first of two mosquito-related infections. It’s not clear if the bite caused the infections or if it was the break in the skin and bacteria entering through the opening.
Nevertheless, she doesn’t hesitate to take any of her children to the doctor considering the possibility of serious infection from West Nile Virus (WNV) or Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) brought on by mosquito bites.
In nearby Danvers, the Massachusetts State Department of Health reports that a pool of mosquitoes has tested positive last month for West Nile and that the threat of the potentially deadly virus should be considered statewide. Yesterday’s press release reveals crows and mosquitos testing positive for WNV and EEE all over the state:
WNV was found in crows from Haverhill, Southampton, and Winchester and in blue jays from Lexington and Lynn. Multiple mosquito samples have tested positive for WNV from Attleboro, Boston, Brookline, Canton, Danvers, Easton, Lexington, Quincy, Seekonk, Somerville, Stoughton, Waltham and Whitman.
The Department of Health makes several recommendations on how to avoid mosquito bites including:
- Consider curtailing outdoor activities in the evening and morning when mosquitoes are prone to biting.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks can keep out the mosquitoes.
- Apply DEET insect repellent if you’re going to be 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.
- Draining standing water from areas around your home can keep mosquitos from breeding.
- Finally, install screens on your home’s windows or make repairs to existing screens on your home.