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More Human Cases of WNV in MA Reported, Threat Remains

mosquitoBOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Two more people in Massachusetts have come down with the West Nile Virus making it the fifth and sixth human cases that the Department of Public Health has scene this year.

The DPH made the announcement today.

Their reporting that a woman in her 50′s from Middlesex County was discovered to have the virus, but she was never hospitilized.  And also a woman in her 70′s from Essex County who was hospitalized, has been diagnosed with having the virus as well.  She is making significant improvements though.

The epidemiological investigation conducted by DPH indicates that the two were most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes locally.

The areas of potential exposure are already considered to be at moderate risk from WNV and will remain at that level. Moderate risk areas may have a single animal or human case; multiple cases from an area would indicate that risk from WNV is high.

“Even as cooler temperatures begin arriving in the state, the fact is that the threat of mosquito-borne illness will continue until the first hard overnight frost,” said DPH State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown. “In the meantime, it’s vitally important that we continue taking common-sense precautions against mosquito bites: use insect repellant, cover up, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active.”

Last year, 33 cases of WNV were detected in Massachusetts residents.

While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness and in rare cases, more severe illness can occur.