How can you prevent mosquito-borne diseases? State officials explain in new video

Mosquitoes are on the minds of many in Massachusetts, after state officials announced Wednesday that a Middlesex County man is his 60s is recovering from West Nile virus. He is the first person this year to become sick from from a mosquito-borne illness contracted in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Medical Society and the state Department of Public Health, in partnership with HCAM-TV in Hopkinton, this week released a video report on diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks. You can watch the half-hour show on the station’s website.

“Infections transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes have become a big problem in Massachusetts,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMaria. That’s partly because of the population density of the state has increased, and people are moving farther into areas where mosquitoes and ticks are abundant.

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State public health veterinarian Catherine Brown details ways to avoid mosquito-borne diseases (see minute 16:00), including avoiding being outside during dusk-to-dawn hours when certain mosquitoes are most active. And she cautions people to watch for flu-like symptoms.

Local and state public health authorities have been spraying to reduce the mosquito population in areas where they’ve found pools of infected insects. Officials announced last week that another man in the county was diagnosed with Easter equine encephalitis but he reportedly was infected out of state.

Last year there were two cases of EEE infections in Massachusetts, including one that was fatal, and six cases of West Nile virus in people.

You can find more information on the state website about mosquito testing, tracking of the disease, and the state risk level in your area.