Spraying begins in Pittsfield to help combat West Nile Virus

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – Crews are out in Berkshire County spraying areas impacted by West Nile Virus to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of infection.

West Nile Virus has been found in three parts of Berkshire County, including Richmond, Clarksburg and Pittsfield.

Between the times of 10 p.m. and midnight Thursday, crews will be spraying roads within a one-mile radius of Route 40 and the Route 20 intersection in Pittsfield. Spraying will take place in Clarksburg around 4 a.m. Monday.

For those who live in the spray zone, crews recommend staying indoors or away from the area, closing all windows and doors, and turning off air conditioners. Once spraying is completed, make sure to rinse any produce with water that may have been outside.

Even though the city is taking action, some people in the area are still concerned.

“Here we do have a lot of mosquitoes,” Keri Segalla, of Pittsfield, said. “You sit outside any time after, you know, one or two in the afternoon, and they’re just all around you.”

The following are steps to protect you and your family:

  1. When outside, wear a long shirt, pants and socks;
  2. Use a bug spray with DEET;
  3. Fix any holes in window or door screens;
  4. Try to avoid going outdoors between dusk and dawn;
  5. Get rid of any standing water around your home such as puddles or pool covers

“It’s just scary to think that we’re going to get bit by a mosquito and something will happen to us or my children,” Dorina Elsaddik, of Pittsfield, said.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, most people affected by West Nile Virus won’t exhibit symptoms. However, symptoms do include:

  1. Fever;
  2. Headache and body aches;
  3. Nausea;
  4. Vomiting;
  5. Swollen lymph glands;
  6. Skin rash on the chest, stomach and back

Less than one percent of people develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis.

There is no treatment. People with a mild infection usually recover on their own, and people with severe infections almost always require hospitalization, according to MDPH.

For more information, contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at (617) 983-6800 or toll-free at (888) 658-2850, or on the MDPH Arbovirus website at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito.

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