Number of West Nile Virus-positive mosquito samples increasing
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - State information released Wednesday showed that, in total, 74 positive samples of West Nile Virus have been found in mosquitoes in Massachusetts this year. Several positive samples have been found in western Massachusetts cities and towns, with most recently Springfield added to the list with one positive sample.
Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris released a statement on Wednesday that read, in part:
“Although the risk of catching West Nile Virus remains low, it is important for our residents to be aware of this finding that we now have a confirmed case of a mosquito testing positive for West Nile Virus.
“... Most people who are infected do not experience any symptoms of illness. Those that do often experience a headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Although in most cases the individual with mild symptoms will recover on their own after a few days or several weeks. It is still important to check in with your primary care giver.”
Western Mass News spoke with entomologist Bob Russell of American Pest Solutions, who told us he’s not surprised western Massachusetts has seen more positive samples than in previous years, considering the amount of rain leading to high amount of mosquito breeding this summer.
“Standing water everywhere in the woods represents complete mosquito development when you have 70 degrees or better, so the ability for mosquito populations to bloom this year has been unprecedented,” Russell explained.
There have not been any positive cases of West Nile Virus in humans or animals, but with the risk spreading across Massachusetts, it’s still important to keep yourself safe. Russell suggested using repellents when doing outdoor activities, especially at dusk or dawn when mosquito populations are at their peak.
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