SHREWSBURY, Mass. — The West Nile virus has been detected in Millbury, Northborough and again in Shrewsbury.
Although no human cases are reported within those towns, the detection of positive mosquitoes is a cause for concern, said Michael Hirsh, acting commissioner of public health for the City of Worcester/Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance.
"The additional positive detections from samples collected this week in both Millbury and Shrewsbury are yet another reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito-borne illness by following simple, common-sense, precautionary steps," said Hirsh.
The West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Although the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
Routine samples are collected to monitor West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis during the summer. Millbury had previously been tested negative. According to Northborough Health Agent Jamie Terry, Northborough is considered a low-risk town for West Nile.
The Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project will spray to kill mosquitoes at Carleton Road near Bella Rosa Drive in Millbury after 8 p.m. Aug. 21. Spraying will also be conducted off North Quinsigamond Avenue near Frybeck Avenue in Shrewsbury after 8 p.m. Aug. No spraying plans for Northborough have been announced.
"This is confirmation that the WNV virus is present in town, and residents must do everything possible to avoid mosquito bites," project Executive Director Timothy Deschamps said in a statement. "You can help reduce mosquito populations around your home and neighborhood by emptying any containers that collect water. Please use repellents according to label directions if you are outside in areas with mosquitoes."
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website. For information regarding spraying call the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project at 508-393-3055 or visit www.cmmcp.org.