CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The West Nile Virus is rarely transmitted from one human to another, but it spreads through mosquitoes when they feed on infected birds.

A total of 21 mosquitos tested positive for West Nile Virus, but no human cases of the virus have been reported this season in Massachusetts. Between 2011 and 2020, 148 people were reported with WNV infection in Massachusetts. Seven of these people died. 

Positive WNV Mosquito Samples 2023

  1. Brookline
  2. Pittsfield (2)
  3. Worcester (2)
  4. West Springfield (2)
  5. Boston
  6. Haverhill
  7. Watertown (6)
  8. Hadley
  9. South Hadley
  10. Burlington
  11. Waltham

Bug spray with ingredients like DEET and picaridin works best, especially now as we head into August and September when West Nile cases typically peak.

West Nile Virus threat increases as mosquito populations rise

What are the symptoms of WNV?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sometimes swollen lymph glands
  • May also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back

The majority of people who are infected will have no symptoms. However, in rare cases, it can lead to severe illness, including meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and even lead to death.

Tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • 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 to 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 twice a week to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding.

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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