A 46-year-old Boston woman has been diagnosed with West Nile virus, the first human case of the mosquito-borne virus in Massachusetts this summer, public health authorities said today.
Officials also said a 43-year-old Plymouth County man is hospitalized with eastern equine encephalitis, the second case of the mosquito-borne disease this summer in Massachusetts,
The man, whose identity was not disclosed because of patient confidentiality rules, is believed to have been exposed to the disease in Southeastern Massachusetts, a long-recognized hotspot of eastern equine activity, disease trackers said. The patient developed symptoms last Saturday and was hospitalized Monday.
The first case of EEE linked to Massachusetts was reported earlier this month when a Rhode Island man fell ill. Authorities believe the man was infected while golfing in Southeastern Massachusetts. He remained in critical condition earlier this week, according to a spokeswoman for Rhode Island's health department.
The woman's case was reported today by the Boston Public Health Commission. The commission was notified Tuesday that the woman was suspected of having meningitis. Laboratory tests returned today confirmed that the woman was infected with West Nile, which can cause meningitis.
The woman, whose name was not released because of patient confidentiality laws, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, officials said.
Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in northern Dorchester and in West Roxbury.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, specialists recommend staying inside from dusk to dawn, peak mosquito-biting time. If outdoor activity is necessary at night, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks.
Bug repellants such as DEET, permethrin, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus can also provide protection. DEET should not be used on infants younger than 2 months and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3 years.
Homeowners can take measures that reduce mosquitoes' breeding grounds, including draining flower pots, wading pools, and gutters.
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