DPH: 10th human case of West Nile virus in state

Published: 9/10/2018 11:53:37 PM

BOSTON — A 10th human case of West Nile virus has been detected in the state this year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced.

The most recent case is a man in his 60s from Essex County who was hospitalized during his illness. The risk for additional cases of West Nile is being raised to high in Lynn, Malden, Melrose, Revere, Saugus and Winthrop.

“Due to information about where this individual was most likely exposed and continued findings of WNV in mosquitoes in the area, there is an increased chance that additional human illnesses could occur,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said. “That’s why it is important that people continue using insect repellents, covering exposed skin, and moving indoors when mosquitos are biting.’’

Officials said that although the weather is cooler now, temperatures are forecast to increase again soon and it continues to be extremely important for people to take these steps to avoid mosquito bites.

“With conditions still very favorable for the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, we recommend everyone continue to try and avoid being bitten,” said Dr. Catherine Brown, a state epidemiologist.

In 2017, there were six human cases of West Nile infection identified in Massachusetts.

The virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms. When present, virus symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

More information, including all West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page atwww.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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