West Nile Virus Detected At Northampton, EEE Virus At Amherst

shutterstock_140998627It is the summer season once again. While everybody is excited spending time in the summer weather for a change, there are also some concerns brewing. Summer also brings in the mosquitoes so the bugs may be out more than usual. The worst thing is that they might also bring the West Nile virus threat back at the forefront. Some areas in the US have already been showing evidence that its back.

According to the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts, the West Nile virus was detected this Tuesday from mosquitoes collected from Northampton. In addition, the DPH also discovered the Eastern equine encephalitis or EEE virus from mosquitoes collected in Amherst. This was the first confirmed instance that an EEE virus was detected in Amherst this year. This places the town at moderate risk for the virus. Fortunately, no human cases for the two mosquito-borne viruses have been reported so far this year.

The West Nile virus has been a problem for many states during the summer months. The virus has become quite common during this time of the year and can be found both in the rural as well as the urban areas. Mosquitoes infected by the West Nile virus can pass it on to humans. Those who are at risk of getting infected are people over the age of 50 years old. It can cause illnesses such as mild fever to more serious conditions such as encephalitis and meningitis. Many of the people who become infected with the West Nile virus usually show no symptoms.

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but very serious disease that can spread via a mosquito infected by the virus. People under 15 years old and those over 50 are at most risk if being infected, especially those with weakened immune systems. An EEE infection is characterized by flulike symptoms with high fevers and headaches. Serious infections may cause neck stiffness, convulsions, loss of eyesight and even coma.

While the situation remains normal for now without any human cases reported, the Northhampton Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and provide residents with updates. The current West Nile and EEE virus incidence in both Northampton and Amherst is not unusual as of now. There is no need to panic but experts advise that residents may consider taking precautions. They can avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves shirts with pants and socks when going out. People should also avoid peak mosquito hours, which is from dusk to dawn. Using safe mosquito repellents when going out will also help keep the mosquitoes at bay and reduce the risk of being infected.

Source: Gazettenet

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