Mass. Confirms 1st Human West Nile Case Of Year

 Updated August 15, 2012, 1:33 pm

The Department of Public Health has confirmed this year’s first human case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts.

Officials say the man, in his 60s and a resident of Middlesex County, was diagnosed in late July and remains hospitalized but is recovering.

As a result, state health officials have raised the threat level for West Nile to “moderate” in Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown.

They also raised the threat level to “high” in Ludlow in western Massachusetts because a horse was infected there.

“Today’s announcement is a compelling reminder that people should take simple, common-sense steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites and the illnesses they can cause,” state epidemiologist Al DeMaria said in a statement. “Use insect repellent, cover up exposed skin, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and nighttime, when mosquitoes are at their most active.”

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile have been found in 48 communities from nine counties so far this year, officials say.

Last year in Massachusetts there were six confirmed cases of West Nile in humans.

With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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