BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Friday the fifth confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in the state.
The man has been identified as in his 70s and was exposed to the virus in Hampden County. Parts of Berkshire, Hampden and Hampshire counties are at moderate risk for West Nile Virus.
“Although mosquito activity is decreasing with the cooler weather, some risk from mosquito-borne disease will continue until the first hard frost,” said Dr. Catherine M. Brown, State Epidemiologist. “People should continue to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites anytime they are outdoors.”
The four other human cases this year were reported in the following areas:
- A man in his 50s in Hampden County
- A woman in her 70s who contracted it outside the state
- A man in his 40s in Middlesex County
- A man in his 60s in Norfolk
There were eight human cases of West Nile Virus last year in Massachusetts. The virus is typically transmitted through a bite of an infected mosquito. While it can infect people of any age, it typically is seen in people over the age of 50. There are typically no symptoms of West Nile Virus but some have shown flu-like illnesses.
Tips to avoid mosquito bites:
- When outdoors, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and socks.
- Use a repellent with DEET according to the instructions on the product label.
- Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing holes in screens and making sure screens fit tightly to doors and windows.
- Schedule outdoor events to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Remove areas of standing water around your home twice a week to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding.
West Nile virus (WNV) first appeared in the United States in 1999. Since the initial outbreak in New York City, the virus has spread across the U.S. and was identified in birds and mosquitoes in Massachusetts during the summer of 2000.