BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts health officials are warning the public to protect against mosquito bites after announcing the state’s first human case of West Nile virus of the year.
On Friday, the Mass. Department of Public Helath (DPH) said the man in his 50s was likely exposed to the mosquito-borne illness in southwestern Essex County or eastern Middlesex County.
The risk of infection for humans is still considered to be generally low, according to the DPH.
“This is the first time that West Nile virus infection has been identified in a person in Massachusetts this year,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel said. “Today’s news reminds us of the ongoing need to take precautions against mosquito bites to protect ourselves and our families.”
Fact Sheet: Signs & Symptoms of Mosquito-Borne Diseases »
Two mosquito samples collected in Belmont last month tested positive for West Nile virus.
There were five human cases of the illness in the state last year.
A number of communities, including several in southeastern Massachusetts, are currently considered high or moderate risk for another mosquito-borne illness, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
Learn more about mosquito-borne diseases in Massachusetts here.