A seventh human case of the West Nile virus has been found in Massachusetts, according to the state’s health department.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the latest case is a woman in her 30’s who was exposed to the virus spread by mosquitos in Bristol County. This adds up to the six human cases and one animal case of the virus observed in the state earlier this year, WCVB reported.
Post the announcement, additional eleven communities are now at moderate risk for the West Nile Virus. These are: Fall River and Seekonk in Bristol County; North Andover in Essex County; Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Halifax, and Plympton in Plymouth County; and Blackstone, Hopedale, Milford, and Millville in Worcester County.
DPH officials also confirmed that 27 communities in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties are at high risk.
“This is our first West Nile virus case this year in someone under the age of 50,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke on Thursday. “This is a reminder that although people over the age of 50 are at greater risk from West Nile virus, all ages can be affected. Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost and people should remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites anytime they are outdoors.”
Back in 2020, five human cases of the WNV were also identified in Massachusetts. The virus is normally transmitted to humans through a bite of an infected mosquito. Although the virus can infect people of all age groups, those who are over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe illness.
Most people who got infected with the virus will have no symptoms. But when present, symptoms include fever and flu-like disease. More severe illness may happen in rare cases.