Controversial mosquito spraying has returned to a Capital Region community after mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The Massachusetts Department of Health confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus on July 13. Mosquito control spraying will take place between 10 p.m. and midnight on Monday within a one-mile radius of the Elm and Williams Street intersection.
“It’s nonstop,” Deborah Chessare, of Pittsfield, said. “People are getting bit up so bad.”
Chessare and her neighbor, Nancy Judware, live near a swamp, so they are no strangers to mosquitoes. Now that they know there’s West Nile in their area, they welcome mosquito control to spray in their neighborhood.
“It’s not like they’re doing it every week,” Judware said. “And I’d rather have them do it every once in a while when they’ve got a positive on something like West Nile than have somebody bitten, or God forbid, a child comes down with the disease.”
That’s why the city is responding to their concerns with the preventative spraying.
“Last week was the first positive findings we’ve had in our local samples,” Pittsfield Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong said.
Armstrong said the risk of human infection in the area is low. Currently, no human cases of West Nile have been reported in Massachusetts this season.
However, Armstrong said the infected population of mosquitoes is high in the Elm and Williams Streets area. The city urges residents to protect against possible infection.
“Avoid dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” Armstrong recommended. “Wear clothing that covers the skin. Use a repellent with DEET. And we also ask people to remove areas of standing water around their homes so they can control the mosquito population in their neighborhoods because mosquitoes can begin to multiply in any standing water that lasts for four more days.”
The City of Pittsfield Board of Health reminds residents that they have the option to be excluded from truck-mounted mosquito spray applications in the city. The Exclusion Request Form can be obtained at http://mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/pesticides/mosquito/pesticide-application-exclusions.html.