Mosquito & Tick-Borne Diseases

For more information on mosquito and tick-borne illnesses see below.

  1. Mosquito-Borne Diseases/ Prevention 
  2. West Nile Virus
  3. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
  4. Tick-Borne Diseases

Mosquito-Borne Diseases and How to Prevent Them

Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. They are spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no specific treatments for either virus, but steps can be taken to protect yourself from illness, including:

  • Removing standing water from the areas around your home
  • Repairing damaged window screens
  • Scheduling outdoor activities to avoid the hours around dawn and dusk
  • Using insect repellents
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing

More information can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by calling the Division of Public Health Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors - Use a repellent, according to the instructions on the product label, containing:
    • DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
    • Permethrin
    • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
    • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)]
    • IR3535

DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
  • Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites - Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Install or Repair Screens - Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

  • Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas.
  • Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

Mosquito prevention