Pittsfield mosquito sample tests positive for West Nile Virus - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Pittsfield mosquito sample tests positive for West Nile Virus

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(Image Courtesy: MGN Online / Rafaelgilo / Wikipedia) (Image Courtesy: MGN Online / Rafaelgilo / Wikipedia)
PITTSFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

More mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus, this time in Berkshire County.

Pittsfield public heath director Gina Armstrong told Western Mass News that the state has notified them that mosquitoes collected by the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project came back positive for the virus.

It's now the fifth positive sample in five weeks for the city.

Late last month, the state raised the West Nile Virus risk level to 'Moderate' in over a dozen local communities, including Pittsfield.

Armstrong noted that Pittsfield remains at 'Moderate' status.

It was also announced Friday that truck-mounted mosquito spray applications will take place in Pittsfield from 10 p.m. to midnight, Monday, August 13. 

That spraying will take place within a one-mile radius of Pecks Road and Wahconah Street. 

>> Residents can CLICK HERE to see a map of the spray area.

Spraying will be rescheduled to Tuesday night in the event of rain.

"According to a Mass DPH fact sheet about ground spraying of mosquitoes, 'exposure to the insecticide can be reduced by staying indoors during spraying.  There are otherwise no special precautions that should be taken. The product used in the truck-mounted spray application breaks down quickly and does not leave a toxic residue,'" Armstrong explained.

To date, no human or animal cases of West Nile have been detected in the Commonwealth.

The Mass. Department of Public Health offers this information on how to protect you, your family, and your pets from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV):

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-mtoluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
  • Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently (every 2-3 days).
  • Install or Repair Window and Door Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

  • Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Mass Department of Agricultural Resources(DAR), Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626- 1795 and to the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

More information on mosquito-borne diseases and 2018 test results can be found here.

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