SHREWSBURY, Mass. – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health found West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes during a routine sampling performed in Shrewsbury, and the deadly EEE virus from mosquitoes collected in Westborough.
"The detection of the West Nile Virus in one of the sampled mosquitoes should not trigger a sense of panic in the community," said Derek Brindisi, Shrewsbury Director of Public Health. "The confirmation presents the Board of Health the opportunity to remind community members that by taking a few, common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones against WNV."
West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.
The EEE virus is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 or over 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness.
Westborough Public Health Director Paul McNulty said that EEE often results in encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. "If you do survive, you may get permanent brain damage," McNulty said. "That's why we worry.
He added: "West Nile Virus is here to stay, but it's not as bad as EEE."
McNulty said the species of mosquito that tested positive for EEE primarily preys on birds.
Westborough also tested positive for EEE in 2011.
Routine samples are collected during the summer months in order for public health officials to monitor West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
The Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project will conduct spraying on Thursday, July 26, in 15 areas of Westborough, but could be postoned due to rainy or windy conditions. See the CMMCP website for details here.
CMMCP will spray in Shrewsbury on the evening of Tuesday, July 31. Areas to be sprayed after 8:30 p.m. will include Boston Turnpike to the south, Oak Street to the west and South Quinsigamond to the east.
A map and street listing will be available on the CMMCP website at www.cmmcp.org/ulv.htm after 3:30 pm July 31st.
In the case of rain, spraying in Shrewsbury will be conducted on Wednesday, Aug. 1.