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West Nile detected in Massachusetts for 1st time this summer

In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer / AP, File


BOSTON (AP) — The potentially dangerous West Nile virus has been detected in a mosquito in Massachusetts for the first time this year, state public health officials said.

The presence of the virus, which is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, was confirmed in a mosquito sample collected in Easton on Monday, according to a statement from the Department of Public Health.

There have been no human or animal cases of West Nile confirmed in the state yet this year. Last year there were 11 human cases of West Nile, according to the department.

Most people infected with the virus do not feel sick, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other flu-like symptoms, and about one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the agency.

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State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown said residents can take simple steps to avoid mosquito bites, including using an appropriate insect repellent when outdoors, covering exposed skin, draining standing water where mosquitoes breed, and repairing window screens.

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