State health officials boost West Nile virus risk level to ‘moderate’ statewide

West Nile virus is usually spread to humans by a specific type of mosquito and although the majority of people who get it show no symptoms it can be fatal

Officials are encouraging MA residents to use insect repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient when outdoors, to be aware of peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn), to wear long-sleeves, long trousers and socks when outdoors and to mosquito-proof your home by draining standing water and installing or repairing screens. "Move indoors if you are getting bitten", she added.

West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, though less than 1 percent of people who become infected with the virus will develop severe illness.

People older than 50 or those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe illness from the virus.

Symptoms include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said that Jackson residents should be especially aware of WNV and the risk for infection.

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"All residents, regardless of their location, should protect themselves and their families against mosquito bites". Check the product label for instructions on proper use.

Mosquito testing at Langley Air Force Base confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus on Tuesday. Consult a physician before applying insect repellents on children. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

But mosquitoes would need to bite infected animals to transmit the disease to humans, so Public Health England says the risk remains low. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas.

Six different mosquito pools in the region have been identified as containing the virus, the highest number found in one week so far for the 2018 season, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

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