Rare, deadly virus found in mosquitoes in Pittsfield - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Rare, deadly virus found in mosquitoes in Pittsfield


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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