West Nile Virus have been found in almost every county in western Massachusetts. Mosquito samples in Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire counties have all tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The West Nile Virus was originally discovered in West Nile District of Uganda. The virus is most commonly spread to people through a bite from an infected mosquito.
22News went to American Pest Solutions in Springfield where we found out that Culex mosquitoes are what carry the virus after becoming infected by another animal.
“They actually get it from birds, birds from eastern Mass. can end up out here moving the virus.
Mosquitoes will bite those birds and that’s how they pick up the disease and then transmit it to people, pets and other animals.” Bob Russell, Entomologist at American Pest Solutions
This week the state’s Department of Public Health raised the risk level for West Nile Virus in West Springfield from low to moderate.
Experts say the best way to protect yourself from contracting the virus is to wear long clothing outdoors at dusk and dawn. Also using bug spray with at least 30 percent DEET content.
We’ve also seen increased amounts of rain recently creating standing water in yards, which is where mosquitoes lay eggs. The state health department says you should remove any standing water from your property to protect yourself and your pets.