Despite the relatively dry weather for the first part of the season, it is an exciting summer for mosquito viruses.
The West Nile virus was found in a fifth community in Attleboro
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that West Nile Virus (WNV) was discovered in mosquitoes in North Attleboro.
West Nile was found in mosquitoes in Rehoboth early last week, and was found in mid-August in Seekonk and Attleboro. Previously, such insects were found in Mansfield.
There has been an increase in WNV-infected mosquitoes identified throughout the state this year, indicating that the risk is widespread, said Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.
There were a total of four human cases of West Nile virus in the state this year.
The last, announced by the DPH Monday, was a woman in her 50s from Middlesex County who was never hospitalized because of her illness.
Previous human cases a woman in her 70s from Worcester County, a woman in her 60s from Middlesex County and a woman in her 50s from Suffolk County. A horse in Hampshire County Stable was also infected, seriously ill and had to be euthanized.
The state last week increases the risk of WNV in every city and city of Massachusetts to "moderate". It was only the second time since WNV was first discovered in 2000 that public health officials raised risk nationwide.
Officials charged on Monday with at least two out of the four cases of people exposed in Greater Boston The risk is too high for 1
"Several people from the same area have developed the West Nile virus," Bharel said. "This means there is an increased risk in this particular area and additional people could be infected, and we are particularly worried about people over 50 and those who are immunosuppressed, as they are most likely to develop WNV disease."
WNV can infect people of all ages, and most people who are infected with WNV have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to cause fever and flu-like illnesses. In rare cases, more serious illnesses can occur.
"It is extremely important that people take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including repellents, wear clothes to reduce exposed skin, drain stagnant water and move around the house when you notice mosquitoes" biting them " said Dr. Catherine Brown, DPH state epidemiologist.
With a few precautions, people can help protect themselves and others:
Avoid mosquito bites by being aware that the main mosquito hours are twilight Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that take place in the evenings or early mornings If you are outdoors and notice mosquitoes, move indoors, uncover clothing, and / or wear insect repellent.
Mosquito repellent for your home, by draining stagnant water, checking gutters and drains, draining unused flower pots and paddling pools, and changing water frequently fige bird baths and installing or repairing screens.
In 2017, six human cases of WNV infection were identified in Massachusetts.
Attleboro public health officials say they continue to work closely with the MDPH and the Bristol County Mosquito control project To spray your property for mosquitoes, please contact Bristol County Mosquito Control at +1 508-823-5253  For information on WNV and reports on current viral activity, visit www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or call the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.