Mass. man diagnosed with state’s first human case of West Nile Virus


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BOSTON (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus this year.

Health officials said a man in his 60s from Middlesex County was hospitalized after contracting the virus.

Fact Sheet: Signs & Symptoms of Mosquito-Borne Diseases »

While there hasn’t been much West Nile Virus activity this year, it has been a very active season for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

So far this year, seven Massachusetts residents have been diagnosed with EEE, including a 5-year-old Sudbury girl.

In 2018, 49 people were diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Massachusetts.

Even though the potentially-deadly virus can infect anyone, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk.

Health officials are continuing to urge residents to stay vigilant and take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. The threat of mosquito-borne illnesses typically lasts until the first hard frost.

More information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Apply Insect Repellent When Outdoors: Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours: The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites: Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens: Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains.

Water troughs should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas.

Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.

Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE.

If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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