BOSTON (WPRI) — Health officials in Massachusetts have confirmed the third case of West Nile virus this year.
The Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that a man in his 60s from Middlesex County contracted the virus. Officials said he was exposed to it last month.
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Two other cases of West Nile virus this year involved another man in his 60s from Middlesex County and a man in his 50s from Plymouth County.
While there hasn’t been much West Nile virus activity this year, it has been a very active season for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
There have been 12 reported cases of EEE in Massachusetts this year, including three deaths. The disease also claimed the life of a West Warwick resident as well as the lives of three people in Connecticut.
Fifteen Massachusetts communities are currently listed as “moderate risk” for West Nile virus. Health officials said they are not changing the risk levels at this time.
Even though West Nile virus can infect anyone, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus.
“We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel said. “Although mosquito populations are declining, some risk will continue until the first hard frost.”
The uptick in EEE cases this year is a reminder for everyone to take extreme precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Health officials are urging everyone to stay indoors from dusk to dawn, use repellent with DEET and to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and high socks while outside during peak biting hours.