CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - The Mass. Department of Public Health announced Tuesday they found mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Amherst. This finding comes after Northampton health officials detected West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in their area.
So far there are no human cases of the West Nile or EEE, but health officials found mosquitoes carrying those diseases in Northampton and Amherst.
Although risk levels remain relatively low, health officials want everyone to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are potentially-deadly diseases that spread through bites of infected mosquitoes, and both have been detected in Hampshire County.
Both viruses can affect people of all ages, but people under the age of 15 and over 50 are especially vulnerable to those mosquito-born illnesses.
However, most people infected will show no symptoms. Some may experience flu-like symptoms, and less than 1% develop a serious illness.
Dr. Cristina Blejan of West Springfield Doctors Express told 22News, "You have the headache. Visual changes can happen. You will start vomiting. That's the sign of neurological symptoms."
There's no vaccine for the West Nile or EEE, but there are ways to reduce your risk.
Emily Whitebear of Ware told 22News, "As anybody who's local, anybody who has children, a parent, I worry about the West Nile disease, but it's not something that's going to stop me from having my children have productive life or get out there and get active."
Simply use insect repellent and avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn.
Alejandra O'Casino of Springfield said she works at a day camp. She said, "We just advise the kids to bring spray and make sure they protect themselves."
Adam Gutierrez of Chicopee told 22News, "Definitely spraying a lot of bug spray before every game because the sweat, I feel like attracts more bugs than anything else."
If you do show flu-like symptoms after getting bitten by mosquitoes, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers.