MEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced the first West Nile virus finding of the season on Thursday.
A mosquito sample collected Tuesday in Medford tested positive for the virus, according to the DPH.
While there have been no human or animal cases so far this year, health officials say the first detection is a signal to start protecting against mosquito bites, especially heading into the holiday weekend.
“It is important to remember that while WNV can cause serious illness, there are simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones,” acting DPH Commissioner Margret Cooke said in a news release.
The DPH urges residents to use EPA-approved insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors, especially during peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn).
Health officials also advise mosquito-proofing your home by draining any standing water and installing or repairing screens.
West Nile virus has not been detected in Rhode Island so far this year, and another mosquito-borne illness, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), has not yet shown up in either state.