West Nile virus detected in state for 1st time this year

West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year, state public health officials said.

The virus was confirmed Thursday in a mosquito sample collected on June 29 in Medford, according to a statement from the state Department of Public Health.

No human or animal cases of West Nile or eastern equine encephalitis have been detected in the state yet this year and there is no elevated risk level or risk-level change associated with the finding.

“The first WNV infected mosquito of the season is always a signal that it is time to start taking steps to avoid mosquito bites,” acting Commissioner Margret Cooke said in a statement. “WNV is part of summer in Massachusetts and as we head into this long holiday weekend, it is important to remember that while WNV can cause serious illness, there are simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

There were eight human cases of the disease last year. Most people infected with the virus will have no symptoms, but some can experience fever and flu-like illness, and in rare cases, even more severe illness.

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