The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has raised the threat level associated with West Nile Virus.
According to West Springfield Health Department Administrative Assistant Lodina Lepard, the threat level for West Springfield has been raised from low to moderate.
Lepard said the change was in due to the recent mosquito pools that have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Northampton, Chicopee, and Holyoke.
West Springfield’s director of public health Jeanne Galloway said people should remove any standing water in their yards to prevent the bugs from breeding.
“Anything that would water, as small as a bottle cap to as large as a swimming pool. make sure it is all clean fresh water,” she told 22News.
Mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the following western Massachusetts towns and cities:
- West Springfield
For a full list of cities and towns across the state that have had mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus click here.
The majority of people who are infected will not have 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.