PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile Virus have been found in a third western Massachusetts community. A sample of mosquitoes taken in the southwestern corner of the city of Pittsfield has tested positive for the virus, which can cause flu-like symptoms or more serious illness in rare cases.
We are now entering the time of year when West Nile Virus (WNV) begins to spread in Massachusetts. Mosquitoes carrying WNV were already discovered in neighboring Richmond in June. Last week, a sample of mosquitoes taken in East Longmeadow also tested positive.
In an effort to control the mosquito population following these test results, a section of Pittsfield- in about a one-mile radius from the intersection of Route 20 and Route 41- will be sprayed Thursday night between 10:00 P.M. and midnight.
Infected mosquitoes can spread WNV to humans, though about 80% of those infected demonstrate no symptoms at all. About 20% can develop symptoms including headache, body aches, fever, nausea, and vomiting. In less than 1% of cases, swelling of the brain or other serious symptoms occur.
So far this year, there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus.
To minimize your risk of infection, residents are urged to eliminate any standing water in their yards, which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Also, be sure to wear adequate clothing when going outside, and use repellant that contains the chemical DEET.