Health Officials Alert Boston Residents to Increased Risk of West Nile Virus

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BOSTON – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) on Friday announced the second reported case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Boston resident, a male in his 50s. The announcement comes after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health raised the risk level for WNV from moderate to high in Greater Boston communities earlier this week.

This is Boston’s second confirmed human case of WNV this year, bringing the total number of reported cases in Massachusetts to five this year. In the past two years, there was one reported human case in Boston.

Within the last week, the total number of mosquito pools that tested positive for WNV in Suffolk County have nearly doubled to 15. A second type of mosquito has also been reported. This mosquito type is primarily active during daytime hours unlike the previously reported mosquito type, which was active during dusk and dawn.

WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, and poses greater health risks to people over 60 and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants.

Residents are strongly urged to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and pets, from mosquito bites:

  • Use (and re-apply as needed) EPA-approved insect repellents when outdoors
  • Wear clothing to reduce skin exposure
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside

Residents are also advised to take measures to reduce the number of mosquitos in their yard by dumping all standing water weekly to prevent them from breeding, as well as treating larger pools of water with larvicide. Residents may contact the Suffolk County Mosquito Control at (781) 899-5730 to request larvicidal treatment of swimming pools and other large containers of water that cannot be emptied.

More information on West Nile Virus is available online in multiple languages at bphc.org/mbi or by phone at (617) 534-5611.

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