Three Human Cases Of West Nile Virus Detected In Massachusetts

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Health officials are raising the risk level for the West Nile virus in more cities and towns across the Commonwealth as three human cases were identified this week.

Two men in their 50s and 70s, and a woman in her 80s, are all said to have been exposed to West Nile in Middlesex County.

Now, the risk level for over three dozen more communities has gone from low to moderate with Bristol and Worcester counties being marked at a higher risk.

The Department of Public Health says it is seeing a significant expansion of virus activity in mosquitos.

“Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “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.”

The department recommends using insect repellent with DEET, minimizing time outside between dusk and dawn as well as wearing clothing that covers more skin.

The department also says people can mosquito-proof their homes by draining standing water and installing to repairing window and door screens.

At this time, no deaths have been associated with WNV this year.

In 2020, there were five human cases of WNV infections in Massachusetts. While WNV can infect people of all ages, those over the age of 50 are at a higher risk.

Oftentimes, people may exhibit no symptoms when infected with the disease, but when present symptoms can include fever and other flu-like symptoms.

More information can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page or by viewing the EEE risk map.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) has more:

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