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Middlesex County Man Infected by West Nile Virus

It's the first human case of WNV in Massachusetts this year.

An unidentified man from Middlesex County is this year's first person to be infected by the West Nile Virus in Massachusetts, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

The man is in his 60s and lives in a community north of Boston, according to a Wednesday press release from the Department of Health and Human Services. The man was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in late July, the release said; he remains hospitalized but is recovering.

Testing conducted in late July and surrounding communities, according to state data.

Mosquitos infected by the virus have been found in 48 communities and nine counties in Massachusetts so far this year, according to the press release.

As result of the human case, West Nile threat levels have been raised to "moderate" in Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown, according to the press release.

And prevention tips are from the Department of Health and Human Services:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • 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. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
  • Clothing Can Help~reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent~Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 (3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid) or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] 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.  
  • Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to 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 getting rid of 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 - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

While the Arlington Health Department continues to work closely with the MDPH and other agencies, locally the Town of Arlington is larvaciding all catch basins to prevent the growth of human biting mosquitoes and inspecting properties and working with residents to remove sources of standing water.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2012 can be found on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph under A for arbovirus in the Health Topics A to Z index. Recorded information about WNV is also available by calling the MDPH Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV (1-866-627-7968).

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