A Beacon Hill woman was hospitalized with the West Nile Virus, making her the first confirmed human case of the mosquito-borne virus in Boston this year, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.
The 50-year-old woman was hospitalized, treated for West Nile Virus and released.
However, the Boston Public Health Commission said that because the woman had traveled prior to becoming ill, it is unclear where she actually acquired the infection.
West Nile Threat
Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health elevated the West Nile Virus threat level for Boston and several surrounding communities after confirming other human cases of WNV in the region. In Boston so far this year, mosquito pools in Dorchester, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Roslindale, East Boston, and Jamaica Plain have tested positive for the virus.
Boston Public Health officials continue to remind residents to take simple precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.
“People often think that since Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, there’s no need to worry about mosquitoes until next year, but that’s not the reality,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission. “Temperatures are still warm, and that means that mosquitoes will continue to be an issue until the first hard frost. People should keep taking the easy steps we always encourage to avoid mosquito bites.”
These steps include using insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting and, when possible, wearing clothing that includes long sleeves and pants. People can prevent mosquitoes from entering their homes by making sure that window and door screens are in good repair.
To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, BPHC advises limiting places around the home where standing water can collect. People should turn over unused flower pots, buckets, wheelbarrows, and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools and kiddie pools when not in use.
In addition, city officials have applied larvicide in catch basins throughout Boston to reduce the adult mosquito population.