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Mosquitoes in Springfield, Vt., Test Positive for West Nile

  • FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2016 file photon mosquitos collected by Chris Horton, of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, are displayed in Pittsfield, Mass. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP, File)



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2018

Springfield, Vt. — Mosquitoes in Springfield, Vt., have tested positive for the West Nile virus, Vermont Health Department officials announced on Friday.

These five pools — or groups of up to 50 mosquitoes of the same species — are the first in the state to test positive this year, according to a news release. The state’s Agency of Agriculture found the mosquitoes, and the Department of Health tested them in its laboratory in Colchester.

More than 4,000 pools of mosquitoes were tested last year and 89 of them tested positive for West Nile virus.

No human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed this year. There were three human cases reported in 2017. Since 2011, 11 cases of West Nile virus in Vermont residents have been reported. 

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Though most people who become infected do not become sick, those who do may develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rash.

In fewer than 1 percent of cases, people who are infected may develop serious symptoms such as high fever, disorientation, tremors and paralysis. People older than 50 have the highest risk of severe illness.

Though overall symptoms can be treated, there is no treatment that is specific to the West Nile virus infection.

Public health officials recommend preventing mosquito bites in order to prevent the disease.

“We want to make sure Vermonters know that there are simple steps they can take to keep themselves and their families healthy,” state Public Health Veterinarian Natalie Kwit said in the release.

Such steps include:

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Limiting the time spent outside at dawn and dusk. 

Using an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent

Covering baby strollers and outdoor playpens with mosquito netting.

Repairing screens and making sure screens fit well into doors and windows.

Removing standing water in gutters and empty flower pots.

Regularly changing the water in bird baths. 

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.