The first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed in Massachusetts this year, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.
The health department said that a man in his 60s from Middlesex County was hospitalized with the illness.
The department also said the risk of human infection with WNV has been considered to be low during the Commonwealth.
Dr. Monica Bharel, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said, “We have not seen much West Nile virus activity this year. Still, today’s news is a compelling reminder that we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
Last year, Massachusetts had 49 reported cases of West Nile Virus.
Usually, WNV is transmitted to human beings through the bites of an infected mosquito. The virus can infect people of all ages; however, people above 50 are at greater risk of developing complications.
Most people who catch the infection are asymptomatic initially. The signs and symptoms of WNV include fever, skin rashes, headaches, and body aches. Rarely, it may cause severe symptoms such as neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even coma. State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown said, “While Massachusetts is seeing a very active season for another mosquito-borne disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), this is the first human case of WNV. We continue to strongly recommend personal precautions to reduce your risk of all mosquito-borne disease.”