Health officials raise West Nile virus risk in Mass.

Health

BOSTON (NEWS10) – The Massachusetts Department of Health announced it is raising the risk level for West Nile Virus from low to moderate in every town and city across the state.

Health officials are urging individuals to take precautions against mosquito bites.

“August and September are the months when most human cases occur,’’ said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “That’s why we are taking this step today so together we can help keep people from getting sick.”

To date, there have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus.

Health officials say while West Nile virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at highest risk.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. Officials say symptoms can incldue fever and flu-like illness. In rare instances, more severe illness can occur.

Avoiding mosquito bites

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors
  • Peak biting times are from dusk to dawn
  • Wear long sleeve clothing, long pants, and socks to help protect yourself against bite
  • Drain standing water to limit mosquito breeding around your home
  • Install or replace broken screens to keep mosquitoes outside

The department says this is only the second time officials have raised the risk level statewide.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at (617)-983-6800.

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