State health officials confirm 10th case of West Nile in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WHDH) - Health officials have confirmed the 10th case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts this year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Friday.

The most recent case was confirmed in a man in his 60s from Essex County, who was hospitalized during his illness.

The risk for additional cases of West Nile virus is being raised to high in Lynn, Malden, Melrose, Revere, Saugus, and Winthrop.

“Due to information about where this individual was most likely exposed and continued findings of WNV in mosquitoes in the area, there is an increased chance that additional human illnesses could occur,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. “That’s why it is important that people continue using insect repellents, covering exposed skin, and moving indoors when mosquitos are biting.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown warned that though the weather has cooled down, temperatures are forecast to increase again next week, which means people need to remain vigilant.

“With conditions still very favorable for the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, we recommend everyone continue to try and avoid being bitten,” she said, in a statement.

There were six human cases of West Nile virus infection identified in Massachusetts in 2017.

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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