Vermont News Briefs

West Nile virus found in three Vermont towns

The Vermont Department of Health says mosquito pools have tested positive for the West Nile virus in three Vermont municipalities.

Mosquitoes collected in Hardwick, Weathersfield and Brattleboro were found to be infected with the virus.

West Nile is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus has been found in every county of the state in past years.

Eight Vermonters have contracted West Nile since 2011. No cases have been reported this year.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets collected the mosquitoes and the Health Department laboratory conducted the testing.

Bradley Tompkins, infectious disease epidemiologist with the Department of Health, says this summer’s rainy weather has been good for mosquitoes. “That makes it especially important for everyone to do what they can to prevent getting bitten,” Tompkins said in a statement.

The state began trapping mosquitoes on June 6 and 896 pools have been tested. In 2016, the state tested 3,243 mosquito pools, of which 19 were positive for West Nile virus.

The Health Department recommends the following steps to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk.
  • Use insect repellent. Check for safe and effective repellents.
  • Cover baby carriages or outdoor playpens with mosquito netting.
  • Mosquito-proof your home. Fix holes in your screens and make sure they are tightly attached to doors and windows.
  • Get rid of standing water. Drain water from gutters, old tires, wading pools and other places where mosquitoes can breed.

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Anne Galloway

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