Mosquitoes in Benton County test positive for West Nile virus

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Transmission of West Nile virus can be avoided by preventing mosquito bites, the only know route of transmission.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in an announcement Tuesday the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the virus in a mosquito sample that was taken from Weymouth on June 20. Mosquitoes become infected by biting infected birds. About 80 percent of people who are infected will not show any symptoms. Three Connecticut residents were diagnosed and hospitalized due to West Nile infection. To prevent mosquito bites, wear long sleeves and long trousers when out from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Increased mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and evening spray applications for adult mosquitoes are also being administered. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. Approved mosquito repellents have ingredients that include DEET, picaridin, PMD, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

West Nile as a mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe illness including encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and can sometimes result in long-term complications and death.

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Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Serious illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over age 50 or people with weakened immune systems (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with West Nile virus. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Three residents were diagnosed and hospitalized due to West Nile infections past year.

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