SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Tuesday their discovery of mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus in Southbridge.

According to a statement released from the Sturbridge Board of Health, the state found 99 positive samples in 2020. They have not yet released how many samples as of Tuesday came back with a positive result for West Nile.

West Nile Virus is typically transmitted to people through mosquito bites. The mosquitos that carry the virus are common throughout the Commonwealth and found in rural, urban, and suburban areas of the state. While people of all ages can contract West Nile from an infected mosquito, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe reactions to infection.

The statement from the Town of Sturbridge warns that the best way to avoid contracting West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites. There are a few things residents can do to minimize exposure.

  • Avoid going out during peak mosquito hours. From dusk to dawn mosquitos are out in higher numbers. This time is considered peak mosquito time.
  • Wear protective clothing. While more difficult during the Summer months, wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors can help keep mosquitos away from your skin.
  • Wear bug repellent. When outdoors, try applying a repellent with DEET (n-diethyl-m-toluamide). DEET products should not be used on children under the age of 2.