Mass. Announces 2nd Human Case of West Nile Virus This Year

A man in his 70s was infected with West Nile virus in Suffolk County, the second case in Massachusetts this year, health officials said

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Massachusetts health officials announced the second human case of West Nile virus of the year Friday.

The Massachusetts department of Public Health said a man in his 70s had been exposed to the virus in Suffolk County, noting that the Boston area is at moderate to high risk of human infection.

The first case, a woman in her 70s who was also infected in Suffolk County, was announced last Thursday.

Last year, 11 people in Massachusetts were diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus, officials said, which can cause a fever and flu-like symptoms. The first human case of 2021 was announced Sept. 1.

West Nile was first detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts in a sample collected in Easton on July 11, officials have said.

It's mosquito season again! Here are some things to know about the most common mosquito-borne disease and how to protect yourself.

Protect yourself from West Nile Virus

  • Avoid mosquito bites: Apply insect repellent when outdoors and use a repellent that contains DEET (except on infants under two months of age, and not in concentrations higher than 30% on older children).
  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours: The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes.
  • Wear long clothing: Long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors can help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Mosquito-proof your home: Drain standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay eggs. Drain or discard items around your home that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools. Install or repair screens on all of your windows and doors in order to have tightly-fitting screens that keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Protect your animals: Owners should speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the DPH by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all West Nile virus and EEE positive results can be found on the state's website or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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