WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- So far this year, 37 communities in Massachusetts have been found to be at a critical or high risk level for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.
State officials are announcing plans for more rounds of aerial spraying, something that's controversial.
“Now more than ever, if you’ve been ignoring the messages for years now, maybe now you want to start listening," said West Springfield director of public health Jeanne Galloway.
As of Thursday, 330 mosquitoes in the state have tested positive for EEE with two human cases reported. Fifty-three mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus, including four from western Massachusetts.
Galloway said while no mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE in the area, people should still be on-guard.
“It’s always possible because we’ve had cases of Eastern Equine in western Mass. in years past, so if they keep doing the testing, it’s always possible we could get that here as well. Otherwise, West Nile Virus is here and we need people to take precaution," Galloway explained.
We’re told you can help protect you and your family from mosquitoes by making sure there’s no standing water in your yard. That includes making sure your gutters are draining properly.
Galloway said another protection method is aerial spraying. It targets adult mosquitoes, which transmits diseases,and prevents them from growing.
A second round of mosquito aerial spraying is set to take place in Worcester and Middlesex Counties this weekend.
Galloway told Western Mass News that aerial spraying is not wanted by everyone.
"A lot of folks just don’t like the idea of using chemicals on things. They maybe also have respiratory issues," Galloway added.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told Western Mass News “there are no health risks expected during or after spraying; and there is no evidence that aerial spraying will exacerbate certain health conditions.”
Galloway said it’s best to keep windows and kids inside during aerial spraying. She said aerial spraying is a last resort in western Massachusetts and officials are hoping for cooler weather to avoid having to spray.
“As the temperature goes down, the mosquitoes are less active. If we can hold off on any of that happening, we may not have to,” Galloway said.