Protecting yourself from West Nile Virus


Parts of western Massachusetts have tested positive for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus. 

In Hampden County, mosquitoes in Chicopee, West Springfield, Holyoke and Springfield have all tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The risk level for the virus in West Springfield was raised by the state’s health department this week from low to moderate. 

West Nile Virus threat level raised from low to moderate in West Springfield

According to the CDC, most people infected with West Nile Virus do not have symptoms.

Roughly 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms, and about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

West Springfield’s director of public health Jeanne Galloway said people should remove standing water in their yards to prevent the bugs from breeding. 

She also said people should apply insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants when going outdoors at dusk and dawn. 

And Experts recommend using bug sprays with a 30 percent DEET content or higher, except for when using bug sprays young children.

The CDC also says there are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat people with WNV.

Mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the following western Massachusetts towns and cities: 

  • Pittsfield
  • Stockbridge
  • Clarksburg
  • Richmond
  • Sheffield
  • Stockbridge
  • Springfield
  • West Springfield
  • Belchertown
  • Ware
  • Amherst
  • Northampton
  • Chicopee
  • Holyoke

For a full list of cities and towns across the state that have had mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus click here.

Mosquitoes in Holyoke, Chicopee test positive for West Nile virus


The majority of people who are infected symptoms, but about 20 percent of people infected will have a fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and a skin rash on chest stomach and back. 

Only 1 percent of people infected will develop serious illness. 

The virus is most commonly transmitted to humans when an infected mosquito bites someone.


People can reduce the risk of getting a mosquito-borne illness by doing the following: 

  • When outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and socks.
  • Use a repellent with DEET according to the instructions on the product label.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing holes in screens and making sure screens fit tightly into doors and windows.
  • Schedule outdoor events to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Remove areas of standing water around your home to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding.


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