Pittsfield tests find second incident of West Nile in mosquitoes

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PITTSFIELD — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in two samples of mosquitoes collected by the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project in the city, according to a press release from the mayor's office.

This is the second confirmed finding in the city for the 2017 summer season.

Spraying

To reduce the mosquito population and potential for infection, truck-mounted mosquito spray application is scheduled for 10 p.m. on midnight Thursday on roads within a 1-mile radius of the Elm and William street intersection. In the event of rain, spraying may be rescheduled for Friday.

Please note the vicinity near Garland has been identified as an area for heightened precautions against mosquito bites, but will not be sprayed at this time, the press release says.

A map of scheduled spray area is available at: http://www.cityofpittsfield.org/city_hall/health_and_inspections/2016_mosquito_control_update.php

This spray will not leave significant residue and is not persistent in the environment.

Residents may request to be excluded from pesticide application by submitting an Exclusion Request Form which can be obtained at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/pesticides/mosquito/pesticide-application-exclusions.html. The form is also available by contacting the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project at 413-447-9808 or berkmc@bcn.net.

West Nile Virus

According to the city's release, West Nile Virus is most commonly spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-borne illness is to take the following precautions:

When outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and socks

Use a repellent with DEET according to the instructions on the product label

Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing holes in screens and making sure screens fit tightly to doors and windows

Schedule outdoor events to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active

Remove areas of standing water around your home to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding

Although there are no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts this season, protection is important in late summer. The majority of people who are infected will not have symptoms. However, about 20 percent of infected people will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, skin rash on chest, stomach and back; one percent of infected people will develop severe illness.


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