State DPH issues warning about mosquito borne illnesses


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) last week announced four additional human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Massachusetts residents, one of which has resulted in a death, along with the detection of heightened WNV-positive mosquito activity in several areas of the state. On a separate note, health officials have also confirmed the diagnosis of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse and completed the case investigation of a Middlesex County resident who died of EEE earlier in August. Based on the totality of these results, DPH has raised the WNV and EEE threat level designations in every Massachusetts city and town to “Moderate” unless already designated at a higher level, and reminds residents everywhere to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.

“Taken together, all of these findings point to the fact that the threat of mosquito-borne illness is very real in Massachusetts no matter where you live,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Keep using insect repellant and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall until the first hard frost, when we can be sure that the threat of mosquitoes has passed.”

WNV-infected mosquitoes have been found in 106 communities from nine counties so far during 2012, and health officials predict that the state is on track to have the greatest number of WNV-positive mosquito pools since WNV was first seen in Massachusetts in 2000.

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