West Nile Virus was originally discovered in the West Nile District of Uganda in the 1930s, and mosquito samples in Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire counties have all tested positive for the virus this summer.
22News went to American Pest Solutions in Springfield to find out how mosquitoes become infected.
“They actually get it from birds,” said entomologist Bob Russell. “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.”
Mosquito samples have all tested positive in Hampden County locations like Chicopee, Springfield, Holyoke and West Springfield.
This week, the state’s Department of Public Health raised the risk level for West Nile Virus in West Springfield from low to moderate.
Mosquitoes also lay their eggs in standing water.
Our 22News Storm Team Meterologist Nick Bannin said we ended up with three more inches of rain in July than we would typically. He said we usually get just over 3.5 inches of rain in July, but last month we got almost 7 inches.
The state suggests draining any standing water on your property to protect you and your pets, wearing long clothing outdoors at dusk and dawn, and using bug spray with at least a 30 percent DEET content will also help.
Lastly, make sure your door and window screens are sealed tight.