EASTON, MASS. (WHDH) – West Nile Virus has been detected in Massachusetts mosquitoes for the first time this year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The mosquito sample was collected in Easton on July 11, but no human or animal cases of either West Nile Virus or Eastern equine encephalitis have been detected so far this year. Despite this finding, there is no elevated risk level change associated with this finding, Mass. DPH said.
“West Nile virus is part of summer in Massachusetts, and we expect to see infected mosquitoes at this time of year,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Now is the time to start taking steps to avoid mosquito bites. While WNV can cause serious illness, there are things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
West Nile Virus is usually transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite, and there were 11 human cases of the disease in 2021. Although anyone can get infected, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms, but symptomatic people may have fever and flu-like illnesses, with rare cases of more severe disease also possible.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine M. Browne advised people to use a mosquito repellant with an EPA-registered ingredient, wear clothing that covers skin, drain standing water and repair window screens. She also recommended that Bay Staters check the Mass.gov webpages regularly to know when and where the disease may be spreading.
Animals may also be at risk of contracting the disease, and owners are advised to be aware of standing water in places like water troughs and wading pools. Animal owners may also speak with their veterinarian about animal mosquito repellants and vaccinations against West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)