The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported
the first positive test for West Nile Virus in Massachusetts.
Officials detected the disease during a mosquito test in Westport and are issuing a
Public Health Warning for citizens of surrounding areas.
The disease is most commonly contracted from a bite by an
infected mosquito. Everyone is at risk, but those over the age of 50 have a
higher risk for serious illness.
Most people will not have any symptoms, but individuals who
do will experience fever, nausea, vomiting, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and
body aches. They may also find a skin rash on their back, chest, or
stomach. Severe illness signs include high fever, disorientation, tremors, convulsions,
numbness, loss of vision, and paralysis.
Mayor William Flanagan of Fall River suggests that citizens avoid the
heaviest mosquito hours from dusk to dawn, wear clothing to reduce bites such
as long sleeves, and to apply bug spray.
Individuals should also repair or install screens as well as
drain standing water around their homes to decrease mosquito prevalence.