Biting Bugs Going Out With a Bang

Department of Public Health announces an additional human case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts
Recommends precautions for avoiding mosquito bites



BOSTON (September 18, 2018)  - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced an additional human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. The most recent case is a woman in her 60s from Suffolk County who is hospitalized due to her illness.


“This is the 13th case of West Nile virus acquired in Massachusetts by a resident,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “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.’’


``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 September 11 and is currently hospitalized.
In 2017, there were six human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts.  


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.