The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has reported the fifth case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a Massachusetts resident for the year. The infected individual is a male in his 70s, likely exposed in Hampden County. The risk of WNV infection remains moderate in specific areas of Massachusetts, and there are no changes in risk levels associated with this new case.
WNV is typically transmitted through mosquito bites, and people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most infected individuals have no symptoms or experience fever and flu-like symptoms. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
Recommendations for avoiding mosquito bites, such as using EPA-registered insect repellents, being aware of peak mosquito activity hours (dusk to dawn), and wearing protective clothing. Additionally, there are suggestions to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around homes, including draining standing water and maintaining screens on windows and doors.
For animal owners, the release advises reducing mosquito breeding sites on their property and seeking advice from veterinarians regarding mosquito repellents and vaccinations for animals to prevent WNV and EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis).
More information on WNV and EEE, including positive results, is available on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page on the Mass.gov website, updated daily, or by contacting the DPH Division of Epidemiology at 617-983-6800.