Fifth Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recently reported the fifth confirmed case of West Nile Virus in the state. The infected individual, a man in his 70s, was exposed to the virus in Hampden County, Massachusetts.
Certain areas in Berkshire, Hampden, and Hampshire counties are currently at a moderate risk for West Nile Virus. While mosquito activity is decreasing as cooler weather sets in, there is still some risk of mosquito-borne diseases until the first hard frost.
It is worth noting that last year, Massachusetts experienced a total of eight human cases of West Nile Virus. This year’s fifth case serves as a reminder that the virus is still prevalent in the state.
West Nile Virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and is commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50. While most people do not display any symptoms, some may experience flu-like illnesses.
To protect oneself from mosquito bites, several precautions should be taken. These include wearing long pants and sleeves, using a repellent containing DEET, repairing holes in screens, scheduling outdoor events to avoid dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and removing areas of standing water to eliminate potential breeding sites.
It is important to note that West Nile Virus was first identified in the United States in 1999 and has since spread across the country. In Massachusetts, it was first detected in birds and mosquitoes in the year 2000.
As residents continue to enjoy outdoor activities during the cooler months, it is crucial that they remain aware of the ongoing risk posed by West Nile Virus. Taking protective measures and staying informed can greatly reduce the chances of contracting the virus.