PITSSFIELD, Mass. – It has been confirmed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is present in mosquitos in Pittsfield.
EEE is a rare illness in humans, which is only transmitted by infected mosquitos, according to the CDC. The virus causes an inflammation to the brain and symptoms include a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. In severe cases it can progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma.
An expert on the disease told NEW10 ABC that although this disease is rare, this time of year normally sees a high population of mosquitoes with the virus.
The Superintendent of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, Chris Horton, says they set up traps for the pesky bug on a weekly basis in different areas. When the traps are collected, they are then sent to the Department of Health for testing.
Horton also says the virus can be carried through infected birds and mosquitos get the disease when they bite birds.
"The virus goes back and forth through birds and Mosquitos and they go through a process what's called amplification. So this time of year is when a mosquito would most likely be infected," said Horton
One person died from EEE in Norfolk County this season, but no fatal cases are in Berkshire County.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project are reminding people to stay protected until mosquito season ends.
To avoid mosquito bites, be aware that peak mosquito activity happens in the hours between dusk and dawn, wear a long sleeved shirt with pants and shoes with socks when outdoors, use an effective mosquito repellent and follow instructions, and mosquito proof your home by making sure screens are in place and in good condition. Also, dump any standing water in your yard because it is a breeding ground for mosquitos.
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