SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 27, 2013

Human case of West Nile virus confirmed in Salem

SALEM — City and state officials have confirmed there is a human case of West Nile virus in Salem.

The person is a resident of North Salem, according to a press release from the Salem Board of Health.

The state Department of Public Health notified Salem's Board of Health of the diagnosis today, the board said.

North East Mosquito Control increased its testing of mosquitoes in North Salem this week when the suspected case was first tentatively diagnosed by a local doctor. As of today, none of the North Salem mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile, the board said.

"Because no additional mosquitoes with the virus have been found, coupled with the fact that mosquito activity is severely diminished at temperatures below 50º F, additional spraying in Salem is not being considered at this time," the release stated. "At present, precautionary measures are the best way to protect oneself from mosquitoes."

Earlier this week, state health officials announced Essex County had its first confirmed human case of West Nile virus, a man in his 60s who was hospitalized and later released.

While West Nile virus can be fatal, the majority of people infected exhibit no symptoms. A small percentage have flu-like symptoms, and an even smaller percentage — less than 1 percent, health officials say — develop severe illness. People over 50 are more at risk of developing severe illness.

This summer, mosquitoes from Salem, Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Middleton, Hamilton, Swampscott, Saugus, Lynn and numerous other Essex County towns have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

For full details, see Saturday's Salem News.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Public health officials urge people to use common-sense measures to avoid West Nile and other mosquito-carried illness:

  • Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn, which are peak biting times for mosquitoes.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and pants and apply insect repellent when outdoors.
  • Install or repair screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
  • Drain standing water, such as in gutters or wading pools, which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

For more information on West Nile virus and its prevention, visit www.mass.gov/dph/wnv or call 1-866-627-7968

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