The Boston Public Health Commission today announced the first case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Boston resident this year. The patient is a 46-year-old female whose case was reported Tuesday to the Public Health Commission as suspected meningitis, triggering an investigation. Laboratory test results returned today confirmed WNV, which can cause meningitis, said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Public Health Commission. The patient has improved and is expected to be discharged as early as today, she said.
West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. So far this season, positive mosquito pools have been found in parts of North Dorchester and West Roxbury.
Since June, larvicide has been placed into city catch basins designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the city. Spraying has been done for mosquito nuisance control in parts of some neighborhoods, but there currently are no plans to expand spraying throughout the city.
To reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito, Dr. Barry advises the public to take a few simple steps.
Those steps include:
- Use insect repellant when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to be biting and, when possible, wear clothing with long sleeves and pants.
- Mosquito-proof your home by making sure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your house.
- Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by turning over unused flower pots, buckets, wheelbarrows, and garbage cans; removing leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; disposing of or covering old tires; and covering swimming pools and kiddie pools when not in use.
For more information on WNV, call the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611 or visit www.bphc.org.
Fact Sheets About Mosquito-borne Illness: