BOSTON (WWLP) – Two new human cases have been announced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Thursday, a day after the first human case for 2021 was announced.
According to DPH, the two people are a man in his 50s and a man in his 70s who were both exposed to West Nile Virus in Middlesex County. On Wednesday, the first human case was announced as a woman in her 80s that was also likely exposed to the virus in Middlesex County.
The risk level for West Nile Virus has been raised from low to moderate across Massachusetts, including the western Massachusetts communities of Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Springfield and West Springfield.
“These are the second and third human cases of West Nile virus infection in Massachusetts this year and we are seeing significant expansion of virus activity in mosquitoes,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost. As we enjoy the unofficial last weekend of summer and then head back to school and work, it is important for people to remember to continue to take steps to avoid 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 five human cases in Massachusetts in 2020. No deaths have been associated to West Nile Virus this year.