State Raises Risk Level for West Nile
By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service
BOSTON -- State public health officials have raised the statewide risk level for West Nile Virus from low to moderate and are urging everyone to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
According to the Department of Public Health, it’s only the second time that officials have raised the risk level statewide. They said there have not been any human West Nile cases reported, but noted that the recent hot and humid weather, combined with frequent rainfall, have provided “perfect conditions for mosquito species carrying West Nile Virus to breed,” according to Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.
According to the state, West Nile can infect people of all ages, but people over age 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, state officials say, and while most people infected with the virus will have no symptoms, the symptoms when present may include fever and flu-like illness.
“I strongly encourage everyone to keep using insect repellant and to be especially aware of mosquito activity at dusk and dawn when the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes is greatest. Move indoors if you are getting bitten,” said Bharel.