By Staff

MEDFORD (CBS) — The West Nile Virus has been detected in Massachusetts for the first time this year.

The Department of Public Health announced Thursday that a mosquito sample collected in Medford on Tuesday tested positive for West Nile, marking the first positive test of 2021.

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So far there have not been any reported cases in West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis in humans.

In 2020, there were eight human cases of West Nile in Massachusetts. In 2018, there were 49 people diagnosed with West Nile, the highest number the state had ever had in a year.

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Most people who contract West Nile don’t display any symptoms, but it can cause a flu-like illness that sometimes turns severe. The people who are at most risk are people over the age of 50.

“The first WNV infected mosquito of the season is always a signal that it is time to start taking steps to avoid mosquito bites,” said DPH Acting Commissioner Margret Cooke. “WNV is part of summer in Massachusetts and as we head into this long holiday weekend, it is important to remember that while WNV can cause serious illness, there are simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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Residents are urged to wear bug spray and wear clothes that limit skin exposure when outside around dawn and dusk. Staff