The Massachusetts Department of Public Health [DPH] announced two additional human cases of West Nile virus [WNV] within the state. There are now six total human cases of WNV in Massachusetts during 2021.
In 2020, there were five human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts.
DPH announced it identified the new WNV human cases effected a woman in her 70s, exposed in Essex County, and a man in his 60s, exposed in Middlesex County.
The recent cases resulted in the WNV risk level being raised to moderate in nine communities in Essex County: Boxford, Essex, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Newbury, Rowley, and Topsfield.
Twenty-seven communities in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties are at high risk.
In Worcester County, the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences assess five communities at moderate risk: Grafton, Mendon, Northbridge, Upton and Uxbridge. The current assessment is low risk for the remaining Worcester County communities.
According to DPH, WNV is typically transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk of severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
To learn best practices to prevent mosquito born disease and protect yourself, your family, and your pets, see these tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.