The woman appears to have been infected in Middles*x County.

An 80-year-old woman has become the fifth case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts this year, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported on Monday.

DPH said in the press release that the woman was possibly exposed in an area of ​​Middles*x County which is already known to pose an increased risk of infection, although officials have not specified where the area is.

According to DPH, people in the Greater Boston area currently have a moderate to high risk of contracting the West Nile virus. The risk will continue until the first frost.

West Nile virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, According to the CDC. Although the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing severe disease.

According to the CDC, most infected patients have no symptoms. When present, symptoms usually include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe disease may occur.

On August 25, an elderly woman possibly infected in Suffolk became the first West Nile virus case in the state this year. Another case emerged a week later and was also in Suffolk, and a third case was identified just four days later in the same county.

The fourth case, the first to be identified outside of Suffolk, was identified in Middles*x just two days after the third case.

Last year, 11 people contracted the West Nile virus in Massachusetts, DPH said.

So far, no cases of eastern equine encephalitis in humans or animals (EEE), another mosquito-borne disease that the condition monitors, have been detected in Massachusetts this year.

DPH Tips for Avoiding Mosquito Bites:

  • Use insect repellent when spending time outdoors
  • Do not go outside from dusk until dawn as these are the rush hour when mosquitoes bite
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to keep mosquitoes from reaching your skin
  • Drain still water from pots and other items in your home and change the water frequently in bird tubs to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home
  • Install and repair screens on all windows and doors in your home

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