The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has announced that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in the mosquito population in Chicopee, Massachusetts. MDPH conducts ongoing surveillance throughout Massachusetts daily and collects mosquitos in Chicopee approximately every 10 days. To date, there have not been any humans infected with WNV in Chicopee.
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry this virus are common throughout the state, and are found in urban as well as more rural areas.
What are the symptoms of WNV?
The majority of people who are infected with WNV (approximately 80%) will not experience any symptoms.
A smaller number of people who become infected (~ 20%) will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. They may also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Almost all people infected with WNV will completely recover.
Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis. The symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Persons older than 50 years of age have a higher risk of developing severe illness.
Public Health Officials in Chicopee continue to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies in surveillance of the local mosquito population. We are committed notifying our residents of any WNV activity.
More information on choosing and using repellents safely is included in the MDPH Mosquito Repellents fact sheet which can be viewed online at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
Information about WNV and reports of current and historical WNV virus activity in Massachusetts can be found on the MDPH website at http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
You many also contact the Chicopee Health Department with questions or concerns.