Massachusetts Has Year's 1St Human Case Of West Nile Virus

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has its first human case of West Nile virus this year, state public health officials said Wednesday.

The mosquito-borne disease was detected in a woman in her 80s who was likely exposed in Middlesex County, according to a statement from the state Department of Public Health.

There were five human cases in the state last year.

“Risk from West Nile virus has been slow to increase this year," acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke said. "This is an important reminder that we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”

Substantial rainfall and hot weather in July resulted in an increase in the population of the species of mosquito known to spread West Nile virus, the agency said.

Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms, but some develop fever and flu-like illness, and in rare cases it can be fatal.