State health officials confirm 13th case of West Nile virus in 2018

BOSTON (WHDH) - State health officials on Tuesday confirmed the 13th case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts and the sixth case in Suffolk County this year.

The most recent case is a woman in her 60s from Suffolk County who is hospitalized due to her illness, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“It is not surprising that we are seeing more cases than usual this year given the intense mosquito activity that has been detected during the season,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.

“With shorter day lengths, we are starting to see the numbers of mosquitoes go down,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “However, it is definitely too early in the season to become complacent. Risk of additional transmission to people continues to be elevated.”

On Monday, DPH and the Boston Public Health Commission announced the 12th case of West Nile virus this season, a man in his 50s from Suffolk County who became ill on Sept. 11 and is currently hospitalized.

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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