BOSTON (WWLP) – The first human case of West Nile Virus this year was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Thursday.

The person has been identified as a woman in her 70s who was likely exposed to the virus in Suffolk County, which is currently at moderate risk for the virus.

“This is the first time that West Nile virus infection has been identified in a person in Massachusetts this year,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “August and September are the months when most cases of West Nile virus occur. Although the significant drought conditions that exist across the Commonwealth have kept the populations of the Culex mosquito species that are most likely to spread WNV relatively small, today’s news is an important reminder that we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”

There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting bit by a mosquito:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors
  • Reduce your time outside during peak mosquito hours, from dusk to dawn
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks outdoors
  • Drain any standing water in your yard where mosquitos are likely to breed
  • Make sure screens are secure and repair any holes

There were a total of 11 human cases in Massachusetts in 2021.