BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday the fourth confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in the state.

The man has been identified as in his 60s and was exposed to the virus in Norfolk County. Twelve more towns have been moved to moderate risk for West Nile Virus: Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton and Sherborn in Middlesex County, and Dover, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, Norwood, Walpole and Westwood in Norfolk County.

“This is the fourth person with West Nile virus infection identified in a Massachusetts resident this year,” said Public Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein, MD, PhD. “Once the weather gets cooler, mosquito activity will start to be reduced. However, some risk from mosquito-borne disease will continue until the first hard frost.” 

West Nile Virus Risk Map

The three 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

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.

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