CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The first human case of West Nile Virus of this year has been found in Massachusetts. 22News talks with Braman Termite and Pest Control on what people should be aware of with this virus.

According to Braman, in the last 10 years or so we’ve had about 150 cases in Massachusetts with a low mortality rate of about 7 people. However, they believe that in order to stay safe you should know the signs and symptoms.

The West Nile virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever and spreads through mosquitos. Experts say that about 80 percent of people with West Nile Virus don’t even realize they have it because they are asymptomatic and about 19 percent of people experience some symptoms.

As far as the other one percent, Natasha Wright with Braman Termite and Pest Control told 22News, “One percent of people are getting the very severe symptoms, which you would get Encephalitis and meningitis potentially, which is swelling of the brain itself or the membrane surround the brain. Coma seizure and it’s affecting those people who are older than about 50 years old they are the high risk demographic.”

The West Nile virus is rarely transmitted from one human to another but it spread through infected mosquitoes when they feed on infected birds. In order to protect yourselves from the virus, Wright said, “Avoid those outside time when mosquitoes are most active.”

During dusk and dawn, Wright says your best bet to avoid contact is by wearing light colored and long sleeve clothing as well as protective gear like bug repellent.

The drought has impacted the mosquito population this summer. Wright believes that mosquito populations should pick up soon as we transition into the fall.