A Bristol County man in his 50s is hospitalized with West Nile virus, the first resident in Massachusetts to be infected this year with the mosquito-borne disease, state health officials said Friday.
The man was bitten by the mosquito in early to mid-August, peak season for humans to be infected with the disease, Dr. Catherine Brown, state public health veterinarian, said in a statement.
Five mosquitoes in Roslindale tested positive for the virus in July, the Globe reported. Since then, many more have been identified throughout the state, Brown said in the statement.
“There have been so many WNV infected mosquitoes identified this year throughout the Commonwealth that the risk is widespread and ongoing,” she said. “That means that this year, it is extremely important to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.”
To reduce risk of contracting the disease, the Department of Public Health recommended using insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers the skin as much as possible, and insect-proofing homes by draining standing water and installing screens in all windows and doors.
West Nile virus was detected in 16 Massachusetts residents last year. No cases were fatal.
The disease can infect people of all ages, but those over the age of 50 are at higher risk, according to the statement. Although most people who are infected with West Nile virus don’t show symptoms, the disease can cause a fever and a flu-like illness.
For more information, visit the state’s Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or call 617-983-6800.