West Nile Virus found in West Tisbury

The West Tisbury board of health announced it is at "moderate" risk for West Nile virus. — Jedesto/WikimediaCommons

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the West Tisbury board of health recently announced West Nile virus “has been detected in a mosquito collected in West Tisbury.” 

According to the announcement, West Nile virus is “most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.” While anyone can be infected, individuals 50 or older are “at a higher risk for severe infection.” The announcement states that most people will feel no symptoms, but some may feel symptoms “such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. They may also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.” Less than 1 percent will experience severe illness stemming from West Nile virus, “including encephalitis or meningitis. The symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis.”

The announcement also lists some “common-sense precautions” people can take people can take to protect themselves from mosquitoes:


  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours, which are dusk to dawn. 
  • Wear long-sleeve clothing and socks.
  • Applying insect repellents, such as DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.


The announcement also has ways people can “mosquito-proof” their homes, such as draining standing water (these areas are where mosquitoes breed and lay eggs) and installing and repairing screens to keep mosquitoes from coming indoors. 

The West Tisbury website has fact sheets about West Nile virus and mosquito repellants from the Department of Public Health available for viewing. Those with difficulty accessing the information should contact Sarah Scotland, an epidemiologist with the department, at 781-375-5369.

In August, Edgartown also detected West Nile virus in its mosquito population. 

“While the Edgartown Board of Health continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally we continue to perform weekly surveillance trapping to assess risk area,” the West Tisbury announcement read. 

West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson was not immediately available for comment.