August 31, 2012
State health officials reported today that two more Cambridge residents have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. One resident is a woman in her 40s and the other resident is a woman in her 70s. Neither woman was hospitalized and both are recovering from the illness. Earlier in August, the state confirmed two other cases of West Nile virus in Cambridge residents (see Aug. 23 media release).
A total of eight confirmed human cases of West Nile virus (including the four Cambridge cases) have been reported statewide this year.
West Nile virus is a disease that can only be transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. In addition to the human infections, West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Cambridge (three positive pools) and neighboring municipalities, including Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Watertown.
State health officials have designated the threat level of West Nile virus in Cambridge as "critical" and raised the threat level to “high” in the communities of Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Watertown, and Winthrop.
While people of all ages are at risk for severe illness from West Nile virus, those over age 50 are at greatest risk.
The easiest and best way to prevent West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites through October. The Cambridge Public Health Department is encouraging residents—especially people over 50—to consider rescheduling outdoor evening activities through October or take simple actions to prevent mosquito bites when outdoors during evening and night hours. The health department also urges residents to remove or treat stagnant water near their homes.
The Cambridge Public Health Department is not recommending spraying at this time. To learn more about mosquito control activities undertaken by the city in 2012 to address West Nile virus, see local response on the Cambridge Public Health Department’s West Nile virus web page.
For news and information on West Nile virus and other diseases spread by mosquitoes, visit the Cambridge Public Health Department's West Nile virus web page.
National information is available at www.cdc.gov/westnile. More information on choosing and using repellents safely is included in the MDPH Mosquito Repellents fact sheet, which can be viewed online at www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
If you have questions or concerns about West Nile virus or standing water, please contact the Cambridge Public Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 617-665-3801 or contact Environmental Health staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.