FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Two more Massachusetts residents have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Health officials said a man in his 60s was likely exposed to the virus in Middlesex County, an area which is considered to have a high rate of transmission. The state’s first human case of West Nile virus was also reported in Middlesex County nearly two weeks ago.
The second resident, a woman in her 70s, was likely exposed to the virus in Essex County, an area which has since been deemed to have a moderate risk of transmission.
The two additional human cases bring the state’s current total to six so far this year.
“There are large numbers of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus right now in parts of Massachusetts due to a nearly perfect combination of periodic rain and warm temperatures,” acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke said. “All six of our human cases have been in people over the age of 50. It is especially critical that people at risk for severe disease, such as those over 50 and anyone with immune compromise, remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites anytime they are outdoors.”
In addition to the two new human cases, health officials also reported that the virus was detected in mosquito samples collected in the Fall River area.
In 2020, there were five human cases of West Nile virus identified in Massachusetts.
Aside from avoiding mosquito bites, officials urge residents to mosquito-proof their homes. Information about current mosquito activity can be found online or by calling the DPH’s Epidemiology Program at (617) 983-6800.
So far, only one case of West Nile virus has been reported in Rhode Island.
Another mosquito-borne disease, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), has not yet been detected in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut.