- Department of Public Health
Media Contact for Public health officials announce a new human case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts
Ann Scales, Media Relations Director
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the 25th case of West Nile virus (WNV) this year in Massachusetts, up from six human cases in 2017. The most recent case is a man in his 70s from Hampshire County who is hospitalized due to his illness.
"Even though we will soon head into October, we continue to notify the public of West Nile virus so people will continue taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. "This latest case is a bit unusual in that most of our cases have been from urban areas and this man is from Hampshire County, where cases of WNV are not seen as often."
WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
"The risk from mosquito-borne disease does start to decline at this time of year," said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. "However, that doesn’t mean the risk has gone away. In fact, it will persist in all areas until the first hard frost."
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes. To learn more, or to see all WNV and EEE positive results, visit the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or call the DPH Epidemiology Program at (617) 983-6800.