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Health Officials Announce 3 Human Cases of West Nile Virus

 Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced the first three human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

   People can take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

 Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptusor IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

   Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. 

   Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed. 

   Install or Repair Screens. Protect Your Animals

   Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers. Owners should speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. 

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