Massachusetts reports 4 new human West Nile virus cases

Health officials in Massachusetts this week announced four new human cases of the West Nile virus, which would bring the state’s total to seven this year.

Authorities said three men and a woman were infected. One male in his 40s, one in his 60s, and one in his 80s were all exposed to the virus in Middlesex County. The fourth case was registered in a woman under 19 years of age. She was exposed in Bristol County, according to a news from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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His position was not clarified.

West Nile virus – first reported in the US in 1999 – is commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. Although the side effects can be severe, most people who are infected experience little to no symptoms and recover completely.

A small percentage of people infected with West Nile virus – about 1 in 5 – develop a fever and may additionally experience headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or other rashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 150 people infected with an even rarer, mosquito-associated disease can develop serious illnesses such as spinal cord or brain inflammation.

The Mayo Clinic warns those who are older, as well as those with pre-existing medical conditions, to be susceptible to the virus.

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Wearing insect repellent and protective clothing, as well as draining standing water around gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay eggs, can be helpful in reducing the risk of maintaining mosquito bites, eventually the state Nile may reduce the risk of developing viruses.

This year, the Bay State has reported seven human cases of West Nile virus. In 2019, the state saw five.