State officials announced Friday that another case of human West Nile virus has been confirmed in Massachusetts. This is the seventh case to be confirmed in the state this year.
According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the woman is in her 70s and is currently hospitalized. The unidentified woman is a resident of Plymouth County. Officials did not disclose the name of the town where she lives.
The first case of human West Nile Virus was confirmed in Plymouth County this year in late August when a man in his 70s was hospitalized.
DPH State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown warned that even though it is October and there are less of them, mosquitoes are still out there. "Infected mosquitoes will likely still be around until the first hard frost," said Dr. Brown.
According to mosquitoes.org, West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999 in New York City. It has since spread across the country. There were 33 cases of human West Nile virus in Massachusetts last year.
West Nile Virus was detected in mosquitoes in Falmouth and Barnstable this summer.
The majority of people infected with West Nile Virus, may never show any symptoms. Those over 60 are at a great risk for illness if bitten by an infected mosquito. People with certain health issues including diabetes and cancer are also at a greater risk for illness. According to the CDC, as of July 2013, the majority of West Nile Virus activity in Massachusetts has been non-human. See the data map here.
Residents are encouraged to follow simple guidelines to avoid mosquito bites including wearing repellant, avoiding outdoor activities at dusk when mosquitoes are most active and wearing appropriate clothing. Homeowners should also remove standing water from their property.
For more information about mosquitoes, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's mosquito page here.