Year's Second West Nile Virus Human Case Found in Middlesex County

West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes have been found in 67 communities from nine counties so far during 2012, including Wakefield. Find out what the symptoms are and learn preventative tips.

Two more human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed by the state, including an unidentified Cambridge man in his 70s who is the second person in Middlesex County to be infected this year, as federal health officials announced on Wednesday a 40 percent spike in West Nile cases since last week.

The Cambridge man remained hospitalized as of last week, according to a state Department of Health (DPH) press release. The third case was a woman in her 70s in Berkshire County, who was also hospitalized and was expected to be released soon.

"The announcement is a compelling indicator that the threat of mosquito-borne illness is widespread, and people should continue taking simple, common-sense steps to protect themselves and their families against mosquito bites," said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach in the statement. "Use insect repellant, cover exposed skin, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are their most active."

West Nile virus cases are up 40 percent since last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday. 

As of Aug. 28, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes, according to the CDC, with 1,590 cases of human infection — including 66 deaths — reported to the CDC. Of those human cases, 56 percent were classified as neuroinvasive disease, such as meningitis or encephalities, and 44 percent were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The Wakefield Health Department announced last Thursday that .

An unidentified man from Middlesex County, in his 60s and living in a community north of Boston, was this year's .

On the heels of mosquitoes infected with eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) being detected in Reading and Lynnfield, Wakefield announced early last week that it would be .

West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes have been found in 67 communities from nine counties so far during 2012, according to the DPH press release.

In a previous statement, the Wakefield Health Department said, "Although the chances of acquiring mosquito borne diseases such as WNV or EEE are remote, residents should be aware that these mosquito-borne viruses could cause fever, meningitis or encephalitis. Early symptoms of these diseases include fever, headache, stiff neck and muscle weakness."

Some West Nile Virus prevention tips include (Courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health):

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 West Nile Virus or eastern equine encephalitis (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.


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