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First Two Cases Human of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts

(Sticky Post) Published

August 31, 2023

| Health Department
| Automatically Archived on 9/15/2023

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Sudbury Board of Health

State health officials announce first two human cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts

August 31, 2023

WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

As we approach the end of summer and continue to enjoy time outdoors, it is important to prevent mosquito bites to reduce your risk of exposure to West Nile virus infection. Visit DPH’s mosquito-borne diseases web pages to stay informed on when and where WNV activity is occurring. As of 8/31/2023 Sudbury is currently at a Moderate WNV Risk Level.

Using insect repellent, covering bare skin, and avoiding being outdoors during the hours of dusk and dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most abundant and most active between dusk and dawn. We anticipate continued risk for human infection until mosquito activity subsides in October.
Tips for reducing mosquitoes around homes

Mosquitoes require water for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce mosquitoes:

  • Eliminate standing water suitable for mosquitoes. Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling
  • Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary.

 Tips for avoiding mosquito bites when outdoors

  • Minimize outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven and loose fitting.
  • Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
  • When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6 percent lasts approximately two hours and 20% for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.
  • Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair to avoid mosquito bites when indoors.