State confirms 10 new cases of West Nile virus

BOSTON (WHDH) - State health officials on Friday confirmed 10 new cases of West Nile virus in Massachusetts, bringing the total number of human cases acquired in Massachusetts this year to 24.

Of the 10 new cases, eight required hospitalization, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The cases were found in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties, officials say.

“We’ve seen four times more West Nile virus human cases this year in the Commonwealth than last year,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “It is important that we continue to remember that even with the start of fall and its cooler temperatures, mosquito season is not yet over.”

“People’s minds are not always on mosquito-borne disease risk at this time of the year,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “However it is not unusual to see people get infected in October – and in fact the latest WNV case we have ever had got sick on November 5.”

In 2017, there were six human cases of West Nile virus infection identified in Massachusetts.

West Nile virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

While it can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms. When present, symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

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