BOSTON (WWLP) – The first human case of the West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Massachusetts this year, state health officials announced Wednesday night.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, a man in his 60s from Middlesex County was hospitalized due to his illness. At this time, the risk of human infection with the West Nile Virus is “generally low” throughout the Commonwealth.
“We have not seen much West Nile virus activity this year,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Still, today’s news is a compelling reminder that we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
Last year, 49 human cases of the virus were identified in Massachusetts.
Public health officials have also reduced the risk of EEE to moderate in Granby, Belchertown, Ludlow, Chicopee, and South Hadley, after a horse from Granby with the virus was confirmed to be in stable condition.
“While Massachusetts is seeing a very active season for another mosquito-borne disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), this is the first human case of WNV,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “We continue to strongly recommend personal precautions to reduce your risk of all mosquito-borne disease.”
The West Nile Virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. People of all ages can be infected, but those over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease.
Most people infected with the virus usually have no symptoms. West Nile Virus include fever and flu-like illness.