BOSTON (CBS) — The first person to be diagnosed with West Nile Virus this year was identified as a Cambridge resident. The Department of Health announced Friday they believe the man, who is in his 60s, also got the disease from infected mosquitoes in Cambridge.
The man got sick at the beginning of September and needed to be hospitalized.
On Thursday, the Department of Health raised the risk of West Nile Virus from “Low” to “Moderate” in Cambridge as well as Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Boston, Newton, Somerville, and Watertown.
The state considers this a “mild season” for West Nile, “with relatively few mosquito samples testing positive for the virus across the state.”
Chief Public Health Officer and Director of the Cambridge Public Health Department Claude Jacob said in a statement, “We urge residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, especially after dusk…You can protect yourself by using repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the evening hours, and moving indoors if mosquitoes are biting you.”
Symptoms include fever, flu-like illness, and headaches. Anyone who thinks they might have the disease should contact their doctor.
In most West Nile cases, the infection is mild and there are no symptoms but for a small number of people, West Nile can become severe and cause encephalitis or meningitis.
West Nile is not the only mosquito-borne illness affecting Massachusetts this year, seven people in the state have been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, including a five-year-old girl.