The Boston Public Health Commission announced on Tuesday another confirmed human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year. The victim, a Boston resident in his 50’s, was hospitalized but has been released. Officials say it is unclear at this time where it was contracted.
This most recent case is the third Boston resident this summer to become infected with West Nile Virus this season. Earlier this month, a woman in her 50’s from Beacon Hill and a man in his 40’s from Dorchester were both hospitalized with WNV and released. There haven't been any cases yet in Back Bay, although mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus in several Boston neighborhoods.
“It’s clear that mosquitoes aren’t gone yet,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission. “We can’t stop being vigilant until the first hard frost, so I encourage Boston residents to take some easy steps to avoid getting bitten.”
Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health elevated the WNV threat level for Boston and several surrounding communities after confirming other human cases of WNV in the region. In Boston, many neighborhoods have had mosquito pools test positive for the virus.
Boston public health officials continue to remind residents to take simple precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes.
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, in conjunction with Suffolk County Mosquito Control, have applied larvicide in catch basins throughout Boston to reduce the adult mosquito population.
Is the city doing enough to combat the spread of West Nile Virus? Do you think residents are taking the threat seriously? Tell us in the comments.