Boston (WWLP) – Two new human cases were announced by the Massachusetts Public Health Service on Tuesday.
According to DPH, the two are a woman in her 70s exposed in Essex County and a man in her 60s in Middle Essex County. On September 1, the first human case was announced in Middlesex County as a woman in her 80s who was also likely to be exposed to the virus. This year, there are 6 human cases and 1 animal case of West Nile virus.
Essex County has nine communities at moderate risk, including Boxford, Essex, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Newbury, Raleigh, and Topsfield. Twenty-seven communities in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties are at high risk.
Six communities in western Massachusetts are at moderate risk for WNV, Chicopee, Springfield, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Agawam, and West Springfield.
“In some parts of Massachusetts, there are now a large number of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus due to the near-perfect combination of regular rain and warm temperatures,” said Marglet Cook, deputy public health commissioner. “All of our six human cases are found in people over the age of 50. Anyone at risk of serious illness, such as people over the age of 50 or with weakened immunity, is always present. Don’t forget to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. You’re outdoors. “
Tips for protecting yourself from the West Nile virus
- Apply insect repellent outdoors
- Reduce the amount of time you spend outside during peak mosquito hours, from dusk to dawn
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors
- Drain the water that collects in the garden where mosquitoes can grow
- Make sure the screen is firmly seated and repair the holes
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause a variety of illnesses, from mild fever to more serious illnesses such as encephalitis and meningitis. It was first confirmed in the United States in 1999.
How will WNV spread?
WNV is most commonly transmitted by being bitten by an infected mosquito. For more information on the different types of mosquitoes that can infect WNV, please visit the MDPH website. www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito..
WNV can also be spread by blood transfusions and organ transplants. In addition, there are rare reports of WNV infection in babies from pregnant or lactating women who are infected with WNV. Because these reports are rare, their health effects on the fetal or lactating babies are unknown and are still being studied.
Direct contact with other infected people, birds and animals will not cause infection.
What are the symptoms of WNV?
The majority of people infected with WNV (about 80%) are asymptomatic.
A small number of infected people (about 20%) show symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. You may also have a skin rash on your chest, stomach, and back.
Less than 1% of people infected with WNV develop serious illnesses such as encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, stupor, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, cramps, weakness, loss of vision, numbness, and numbness. People over the age of 50 are at increased risk of developing severe illness.
How Common is WNV in Massachusetts?
Most people infected with WNV are asymptomatic, so it is difficult to know exactly how many people have been infected. People who develop serious illness with WNV are most often reported. Between 2011 and 2020, 148 people were reported to be infected with WNV in Massachusetts. Seven of these people have died. Cases have been confirmed from around the state.
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