PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The fourth round of mosquito spraying is scheduled for Tuesday night.
The state Department of Public Health confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in two more samples of mosquitoes collected by the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project.
From 10 p.m. until midnight, a truck-mounted spray application will be done in a one-mile radius of the Crane Avenue and North Street intersection and the Elm and Williams Street intersection. Should it rain, the spraying will be rescheduled for the following evening.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes and can potentially be deadly, though most people show few or no symptoms. The presence of the virus has been found just about every year locally since the Mosquito Control Project began collecting samples. The state also tests for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, though that is more prevalent in the eastern portion of the state.
There have not been any reported human cases of West Nile this summer, and only one since 2011 locally, but the disease could cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash. The majority of those who are infected have no symptoms but the disease could be severe enough to be fatal.
Health officials say the chemicals do not leave significant residue and it is not persistent in the environment following the spray. However, in recent years a group of residents has contested that the chemicals are not safe and should not be used, advocating for other control options.
West Nile has been found in multiple mosquito samples this summer. Previously, the project sprayed in the Elm Street area and in the southwest part of the city, near the Richmond line. Most recently, the city sprayed in Wahconah Street and Pecks Road and Crane Avenue and North Street areas. West Nile has also been found in samples collected in Richmond and Clarksburg as well.
The best measures of protection from mosquito borne illness include the following:
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 make 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 to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding
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