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Middlesex County Man Infected by West Nile Virus

It's the first human case of WNV in Massachusetts this year.

An unidentified man from Middlesex County is this year's first person to be infected by the West Nile Virus in Massachusetts, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

The man is in his 60s and lives in a community north of Boston, according to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services Aug. 15. The man was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in late July, the release said; he remains hospitalized but is recovering.

Testing conducted on July 24 found the virus in mosquito pools in Medford, Malden and Melrose, according to state data. It is the second consecutive year the virus was found in Medford. The virus was found in mosquitos in Medford last August.

Mosquitos infected by the virus have been found in 48 communities and nine counties in Massachusetts so far this year, according to the press release.

As result of the human case, West Nile threat levels have been raised to "moderate" in Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, and Watertown, according to the press release. Medford's threat was already previously moderate, according to DHHS data.

The following prevention tips are courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
  • Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains.

Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.

If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results from 2012, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

Michael G August 16, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I remember when they use to spray my area. You would hear the truck coming from three streets away. That was way before threats like these. They found an infected area in Malden, why didn't the state or city spray? What are the guidelines behind it? Do they have to wait till an animal or human is infected or find multiple infected areas?
heather C August 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Good question Michael G I wanna know too, what are the guidelines? What the plan???
Michael G August 17, 2012 at 03:27 AM
We are in a moderate threat level here in Malden. I think we should have citywide sprays.
Michael G August 17, 2012 at 07:08 AM
Ty Heather. This is scary.
Meggle August 17, 2012 at 02:10 PM
West Nile Virus is rarely serious in a healthy person. Few people will get sick or even show any symptoms at all. Those who are elderly or very young (like with the flu) are most at risk. Here are the symptoms to look out for: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004457/ Hopefully with some research there will be a vaccine for West Nile Virus.

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