BOSTON. MASS (WTEN) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says they have found their first case of West Nile virus in the state this year. Health officials say the woman is in her 80’s and was most likely exposed to the virus in Middlesex County, an area known to be at moderate risk for West Nile.

Since it is late in the season, health officials say the increase of rain in July and the hot weather may have increased the mosquito population. In 2020, there were five cases of West Nile virus reported in Massachusetts.

Health officials say the virus can affect people of all ages but people over 50 are at a higher risk. Most people infected have no symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they include fever and other flu-like illness. More severe symptoms can occur in rare cases.

Health officials are urging the public to take precautions from illnesses caused by mosquito bites. These include:

  • Applying insect repellent when outside
  • Wearing long-sleeves and long pants outside
  • Draining standing water outside your home, including flower pots, gutters, wading pools
  • Repairing window screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home