By Kevin Rudden Staff Reporter/Columnist

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus (WNV) were found in the Camp St. area of town last week in a “surveillance trap” set by the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Program (CMMCP).

Working with the Milford Board of Health, CMMCP used trick-mounted sprayers throughout the Camp St. area on September 16. Street drainage catch basins were being treated in these areas to stop emergence of mosquito species that can carry WNV, and additional surveillance traps were set up to gauge population density and determine if additional virus can be isolated.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the West Nile Virus can cause fevers, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

The Milford Board of Health encourages residents to avoid mosquito bites by:

  • Being 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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
  • Wearing Clothing That Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites: Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Applying Insect Repellent When You Go Outdoors: Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear, and should not be applied to skin.

The board also suggests people mosquito-proof their homes by:

  • Draining 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 getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Installing or Repairing Screens: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.