First 2020 West Nile Sample Detected in Massachusetts

BOSTON – For the first time in 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported a positive West Nile virus sample.

The sample was collected earlier this week in Belmont and the virus was detected in mosquitoes.

The state saw five human West Nile cases last year, compared to 49 human cases in 2018. The latter was the greatest number of human cases of the virus Massachusetts has seen in a single year.

West Nile virus can impact anyone, but is especially dangerous for those 50 years old and above. For the most part, people infected with the virus do not experience symptoms, according to the DPH.

Fever and flu-like illnesses can develop, however, as well as more serious sickness in rare instances.

State officials are advising residents to be aware and take action. Insect repellent should be applied when outside and people should be aware of peak mosquito biting hours from dusk to dawn.

Long sleeves, pants, and long socks can also help reduce bites.

Standing water in and around homes should be drained, and screens for doors and windows should be repaired or installed. Animals should also be protected from the mosquitoes.

To learn more, visit the DPH’s website by clicking here.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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