EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – West Nile Virus has reached Hampden County again this year. According to the East Longmeadow Board of Health, a sample of mosquitoes taken in the town has tested positive for the virus.
Spread by mosquitoes, West Nile Virus (WNV) causes no symptoms in most infected people about 80 percent. Nearly 20 percent, however, may develop symptoms such as headache, body aches, fever, nausea, and vomiting. In less than 1 percent of cases, infected people may develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain), meningitis, or other more severe illnesses.
No human cases of West Nile Virus have been found in East Longmeadow or other surrounding communities at this time.
The town’s Board of Health Department told 22News that the majority of people who are infected with West Nile have no symptoms, while others are not so lucky.
“There is a small percentage of people who experience flu like symptoms, so body aches and low grade fever, the people most at risk are senior citizens,” said Aimee Petrosky.
This is the second time so far this season that West Nile Virus has been discovered in western Massachusetts. Mosquito samples taken in the Berkshire County town of Richmond back in June. A mosquito sample collected in the Boston neighborhood of Roslindale tested positive earlier this month.
“I avoid it, it’s a serious situation when you have any type of insects that can affect your health, you have to be very careful,” said Joe Occhiuti of East Longmeadow.
Residents of East Longmeadow and surrounding towns are being instructed to eliminate any standing water in their yards, clear blocked gutters, and make sure their pool circulation systems are running continuously.
Some advice to keep mosquitoes away includes cleaning blocked gutters, keeping swimming pool circulation systems running, and applying a bug spray with the chemical DEET.