Rare, deadly virus found in mosquitoes in Pittsfield

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PITTSFIELD, M.A.— For the first time a rare deadly disease
has been detected in mosquitoes in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Department of Health is warning people to be careful during
the hours of dusk and dawn, saying Eastern Equine Encephalitis spreads from
mosquito bites to people.

While no human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have
been reported in Massachusetts, officials are not wasting any time taking precautions,
not only continually setting mosquito traps and testing samples, they are also
spraying pesticides to ultimately stop the spread.

Chris Horton loads his truck with pesticide, designed specifically to kill
adult mosquitoes. Horton, the superintendent of the Berkshire County Mosquito
Control project, says a very small amount, .62 ounces per acre, will be applied
Friday night in Pittsfield.

Horton says the rare, but already deadly disease has to be taken seriously,
especially during prime-time breeding season.

Horton says anyone within a ten mile radius of the city of Pittsfield could
be at risk, saying it is imperative that people take precautions against
getting bit.

Horton and his team also plan to set traps designed to catch egg-bearing
female mosquitoes, all in an effort to ultimately stop the spread.

The first sample that tested positive was collected in the past 24 hours.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare virus. There have been
100 cases in Massachusetts since 1939. Symptoms of the virus include high
fever, stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy. It can lead to brain swelling
and serious complications.

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