PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three more mosquitoes have been found in the county with West Nile virus.
Last Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health confirmed three more infected insects — two in Richmond and one in Stockbridge. The latest findings make a total of five cases, with two found in Pittsfield earlier this summer.
According to Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project Superintendent Chris Horton, August is the peak time for findings of the virus and the project is now treating those areas to kill adult mosquitoes.
"It is the time of the year when we traditionally find peaks of West Nile," Horton said on Monday. "We already treated catch basins in towns and we are now doing other treatments in response to these findings."
The two found in Richmond came from the same spot, Horton said, and there will be a spraying in Richmond on Tuesday morning. A spraying in Stockbridge has already occurred, he said.
Despite the findings, the county's risk level is low and the number is less than last year, when an elderly woman contracted West Nile.
"There was more of the virus last year," Horton said, adding that eastern equine encephalitis was found last year but not this year. "But we're not through the situation yet."
Horton said the project tests only a small percentage of the mosquitoes in eight towns so the virus could be more widespread than detected. The project will continue testing throughout the season, which ends after the first hard frost.
"Basically, when we isolate a virus, we consider it to be there until the end of the season," he said.
Residents are encouraged to take precautions such as applying insect repellent, wearing long sleeves at night and in the early morning, checking screens and draining any standing water.
"This is the peak time for the virus and the No. 1 protection for West Nile is personal protection," Horton said.
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