Recently, Pittsfield and Cheshire have had mosquitoes tested for West Nile Virus come up positive. Last week, three more Berkshire County towns have been added to the growing list of communities.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed that mosquitoes tested for the virus in Lanesborough, Sheffield and Stockbridge have all come up positive. The mosquitoes tested were collected on Monday and Tuesday.

While the levels of impact have risen throughout Berkshire County for West Nile Virus, there has not been a human with the virus confirmed in 2018. With the positive tests coming up almost daily, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has tips to protect yourself from West Nile Virus.

  • Schedule outdoor events to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When you are outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and socks. This may be difficult to do when the weather is hot, but it will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 (3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid) or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.
    • DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
    • Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.
    • More information on choosing and using repellents safely is included in the MDPH Mosquito Repellents fact sheet. If you can’t go online, contact the MDPH at (617) 983-6800 for a hard copy.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing any holes in your screens and making sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.
  • Remove areas of standing water around your home. Here are some suggestions:
    • Look around outside your house for containers and other things that might collect water and turn them over, regularly empty them, or dispose of them
    • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors so that water can drain out
    • Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater
    • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
    • Change the water in birdbaths every few days; aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish
    • Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated; remove standing water from pool covers
    • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property


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