July 03, 2008

Opening Day: West Nile Found in Massachusetts

It's not exactly the most wonderful time of the year. West Nile virus has become a fact of life in the US, and news comes today that Mother Nature has pitched the first virus-bearing mosquito of the season at humanity right here in Worcester.

The state Department of Public Health announced today that the West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year.

The mosquito sample was collected on June 27 in the city of Worcester.


There were only six cases of the disease in the state last year; let's hope it'll be the same or less this year.

I spend a great deal of time in situations which put me at risk for mosquito bites. I do field work and there's a good deal of standing or sluggish water in the place I do it. I almost never get bitten, though, because I douse myself in 25% DEET repellent when I'm in the woods. I've been in the habit of doing so since I started collecting in Florida where the risk from mosquitoes isn't so much West Nile as it is being dropped from a height sufficient to cause injury. I refer to the chemical scent of DEET as field work cologne.

But like most people, I don't wear the stuff all the time. Drain that standing water, denizens of Wormtown!

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