BOSTON (WPRI) — One day after reporting Massachusetts’ first human case of West Nile virus of the year, the state’s Department of Public Heath (DPH) disclosed two more in the same area.
The man in his 50s and man in his 70s were both exposed to the mosquito-borne illness in Middlesex County, which the DPH said is likely where the first case originated from as well.
As a result, the risk level for 38 communities has been raised from low to moderate. Several communities in Bristol and Worcester counties were already at moderate risk for West Nile virus, along with the Greater Boston area.
“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,” acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke said in a statement. “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.”
The DPH urges residents to apply insect repellant and wear long-sleeved shits and pants when outdoors, especially during during peak biting hours (from dusk to dawn). It’s also important to install or repair screens on windows and doors, and to remove any standing water from around the home and yard.
A mosquito sample collected from Cranston in late July tested positive for West Nile virus, but no human cases have been reported in Rhode Island so far this year.