Mosquito borne illnesses threaten western Mass.

EEE was found in Plymouth County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The risk level for a mosquito borne illness called Eastern Equine Encephalitis is at “moderate” for Amherst and Belchertown.

Some people infected with EEE do not show any symptoms, but if the virus infects your central nervous system, that could be deadly. So you should make sure you use bug repellent if you’ll be outside, near water, and especially during early evening hours.

Also, wear long-sleeves, drain standing water, check gutters, unused flowerpots and portable swimming pools, and make sure you eliminate places where mosquitoes can breed. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure.

Mosquito samples in Plymouth County recently tested positive to EEE. A couple weeks ago, the Department of Public Health confirmed that mosquitoes in Worcester County carried West Nile Virus.

Last year, Hampshire County dealt with two cases of EEE in horses and Hampden County had one human case of West Nile Virus.

Many western Mass. residents told 22News every summer, they worry about these mosquito borne illnesses, especially in children.

Louann Hoesli of Northampton said, “You have to protect them. His mother, you know she makes sure he has long-sleeves on, and she’s like me, she doesn’t like bugs.”

The first symptoms of EEE include fever, stiff neck, headache and lack of energy. These symptoms will show within three to 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

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