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2012 Human Cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts Surpass 2011

A Middlesex County woman in her 30s is the latest infected with West Nile Virus, according to the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department. Nine human cases of West Nile Virus have been found in Massachusetts, compared to six in 2011.

A Middlesex County woman in her 30s is the latest infected by West Nile Virus, according to a press statement by the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department.

The woman is the most recent human case of West Nile Virus, according to the statement. Nine human cases of West Nile Virus have been found in Massachusetts, compared to six in 2011.

“These results show that the threat of mosquito-borne illness remains a serious concern across the state,” said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria in the statement. “We need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves against mosquito bites: use insect repellant, cover up, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active.”

Meanwhile, a stabled horse in Hampden County was also infected, according to the statement. There have been as many horses infected (one) by West Nile this year as there were last year.

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Tips to avoid West Nile Virus

Here are some tips provided by the state's Department of Health and Human Services:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

  • Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

  • Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

  • Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools — especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

For more information, including all WNV and EEE positive results from 2012, visit the Arbovirus Surveillance Information website or by call the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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