West Nile virus detected in Massachusetts for 1st time this year, health officials say

QUINCY, Mass. — The Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that the West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year.

The presence of the virus was confirmed by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in two mosquito samples collected in Quincy on June 25, state officials said.

“This is about the time of year that we expect to start finding West Nile virus in mosquitoes,” Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein said in a news release. “It is an important reminder that people should take steps to prevent mosquito bites. WNV can cause serious illness and there are simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

West Nile is typically transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. There were six human cases in the Bay State in 2023.

While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected show no symptoms but when present fever and flu-like illness are common.

Health officials shared to following tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors
  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours: dusk to dawn
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors
  • Drain standing water around your home
  • Install or repair screens on all your windows and doors

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