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

The person has been identified as a woman in her 80s who was likely exposed to the virus in Middlesex 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 Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Risk from West Nile virus has been slow to increase this year. This is an important reminder that we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”

Officials say the large amount of rain we received in July as well as the recent hot weather has increased the population of mosquitoes known to carry the virus. The risk for West Nile Virus is currently considered moderate in the Greater Boston area and several towns in Worcester and Bristol Counties.

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 five human cases in Massachusetts in 2020. No deaths have been associated to West Nile Virus this year.