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Man Hospitalized With State's First West Nile Case Of 2019

A mosquito is examined in Salt Lake City. The potentially fatal West Nile Virus is popping up more around the U.S. (Rick Bowmer/AP file photo)
A mosquito is examined in Salt Lake City. The potentially fatal West Nile Virus is popping up more around the U.S. (Rick Bowmer/AP file photo)

As officials warn about the significant risks Massachusetts faces from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, this year's first case of another illness often transmitted by mosquitoes, West Nile virus, has been confirmed.

The state Department of Public Health announced Wednesday night that a man in his 60s in Middlesex County was hospitalized for the West Nile virus, the first confirmed human case in 2019.

However, the department said the risk of West Nile infection is still considered "generally low" across the state this year, one year after a season that saw 49 human cases detected.

"We have not seen much West Nile virus activity this year," Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a Wednesday press release. "Still, today's news is a compelling reminder that we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites."

Bharel said at a Public Health Council meeting on Wednesday that EEE remains a "serious concern" even as the season cools. Seven human cases of EEE have been confirmed this year, including one that killed a Bristol County woman.

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