There are about double the number of mosquitoes present in Massachusetts compared to last year, according to the director of the state's Bureau of Laboratory Sciences, Mary J.R. Gilchrist.
Gilchrist told the Boston Globe that the Northern house mosquito has thrived in puddles of water left by the summer's intermittent rainstorms. There is now evidence that West Nile has emerged earlier than usual.
The article says that a pool of mosquitoes in Worcester tested positive for West Nile on July 2, about a month earlier than last year, but no human cases have been reported in the state yet this year.
The West Nile virus usually spreads to humans through a mosquito's bite.
According to the article, summer rainstorms are fueling the increased number of mosquitoes that are likely to carry the disease. The rains fill flowerpots, bird baths, and clogged gutters, where mosquitoes lay their eggs. In that standing water, a new batch of pests can emerge in as few as four days and live as long as six weeks.
So far this year 48 human cases have been reported in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
The CDC provides comprehensive information on West Nile. The agency reminds people to use mosquito repellent; eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs; install or repair window and door screens; and support community-based mosquito-control programs.
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