BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced on Friday that a mosquito tested positive for West Nile Virus earlier this week.

According to the Quabbin Health District, no human cases have been reported yet.

Tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Avoid spending extended periods of time outdoors from dusk to dawn – the time when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long clothing to keep mosquitoes away from your skin
  • Use EPA-approved insect repellents with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Do not use DEET on infants that are under two months old and so do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on a child under three years old.
  • Make sure screens in windows and doors fit properly and there are no holes.
  • Regularly empty out and clean bird baths, unused flower pots, and other containers that may keep standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. 
  • Regularly clean out gutters

What to do if you have animals:

  • Water troughs should be flushed out at least once a week to reduce mosquitos
  • Horse owners should keep horses in stalls at night to reduce the risk of exposure
  • Speak with your vet about mosquito repellents that are approved for animal use and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Joint pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

Severe illness symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Stupor
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision loss
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis

West Nile virus (WNV) first appeared in the United States in 1999. Since the initial outbreak in New York City, the virus has spread across the U.S. and was identified in birds and mosquitoes in Massachusetts during the summer of 2000.

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