BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts has its first human case of West Nile virus this year.

The man, who is in his 50s, was likely exposed in southwestern Essex County or eastern Middlesex County, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

“This is the first time that West Nile virus infection has been identified in a person in Massachusetts this year,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Today’s news reminds us of the ongoing need to take precautions against mosquito bites to protect ourselves and our families.”

The risk of human infection with West Nile virus is considered to be low throughout the state. Symptoms of the disease include fever and flu-like symptoms, although more serious illness can occur.

In 2019, there were five human cases of the disease in Massachusetts.

Several towns have also found mosquitos infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well, with the state’s first human case reported earlier this week, prompting health officials to remind people to use bug spray; wear long sleeves, pants and socks when going out; and refraining from outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, when mosquitos are most active.


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