BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time in 2018, West Nile virus has been detected in Massachusetts.
The state’s Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that a mosquito sample collected June 20 in Weymouth tested positive for West Nile.
“The first WNV positive mosquito sample is often identified in Massachusetts during the last week in June,” said DPH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown in a statement. “Risk for human infection generally builds through the season with peak risk occurring in August.”
Health officials say they aren’t raising the risk level of acquiring West Nile as a result of the positive test. There have not been any human or animal cases of West Nile or Eastern Equine Encephalitis this year.
Six people contracted West Nile Virus in Massachusetts last year. Most of those infected don’t have any symptoms, but it can result in a flu-like illness or more severe illness in rare cases.
To avoid mosquito bites, experts recommend using repellents with an EPA-registered ingredient, wearing appropriate clothing, draining standing water and making sure window screens are sealed.