PITTSFIELD -- Although two test samples from mosquitos in Pittsfield have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and five others for West Nile Virus, the threat is not considered high in the Berkshire region for either virus, the Board of Health learned Tuesday.
City Health Department Director Gina Armstrong, providing an update to the board on Berkshire Mosquito Control Project testing in the area, said the level of positive samples found is similar to 2012. However, there have been no human cases reported in the Berkshires this year, she said.
Armstrong said the state Department of Public Health ranks the risk for EEE in this area as low and moderate for West Nile. EEE is normally considered the more serious threat to lead to long-term complications in humans.
As a result of a recent positive EEE test in a batch of mosquitos, insecticide spraying by the control project crews was done on Saturday, she said, and additional spraying is scheduled for Wednesday night.
Spraying will be between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. in Holmes Road neighborhoods south from Lori Court to the Lenox Line; roads between West Street and Gale Avenue/railroad line, from Fort Hill Avenue to Merriam Street; and Wahconah, Clapp, Kirvin and Fred Garner parks.
Spraying may be rescheduled for Thursday evening in the event of rain.
"There still are a lot of mosquitos," Armstrong said, adding that they were numerous through Sept. 18 last year, and are expected to remain a threat until the first hard frost.
There was concern about an outbreak of illness going into the summer, especially after the mosquito population soared during a period of heavy rains. And Pittsfield was designated a high risk area in 2012 after an area resident was diagnosed with West Nile virus.
Among the mosquitos trapped in Pittsfield for testing last year, 13 were positive for West Nile virus and two for EEE. Another 16 tests elsewhere in Berkshire County were positive for West Nile.
The Berkshire County Mosquito Project traps mosquitos for testing and also treats larva in drain catch basins and eliminates standing water and other breeding areas where possible -- along with conducting spraying by hand and by truck-mounted sprayers.
A map of scheduled spraying areas is available on the city website at www.cityofpittsfield.org.
To reach Jim Therrien:
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