SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — West Nile has made its way to Massachusetts.
The virus hasn’t made its way to western Massachusetts yet, but several mosquitoes in eastern Massachusetts have tested positive for the virus. As a precaution, state health officials have increased the risk level from low to moderate in 12 communities in eastern Massachusetts.
A moderate risk level means the virus is in the area, or was in the area in the past year. Since the virus peaks between June and September, the Department of Health is urging residents across the state to stay on high alert.
They’re encouraging residents to use bug spray, and avoid areas that are known to have a lot of mosquitoes between dusk and dawn.
Westminster in Worcester County is the closest community to western Massachusetts that has been moved to a moderate risk level.
If the virus continues spreading through Massachusetts, there are steps you can take to keep your family safe. To lower your chances of getting the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using bug spray whenever outside. Long sleeved shirts, pants, and socks can also help prevent bug bites.
You can also mosquito-proof your home. The CDC says your best bet is to try and keep your windows closed as often as possible. They also recommend removing standing water in any pet dishes, birdbaths, and flowerpots in your yard, that maybe be attracting mosquitoes.
The Department of Public Health says no one in Massachusetts has been infected with the virus so far this summer, but birds and mosquitoes have tested positive.