Second West Nile case confirmed in Massachusetts

The second case of West Nile virus was confirmed in Massachusetts' Middlesex County last week, raising the risk level to "moderate" for several counties in the state.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient was hospitalized but has since been released. Officials raised the risk level for Melrose, Reading, Saugus, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Woburn counties.

"While cooler weather reduces mosquito activity, risk for mosquito-borne illness remains a concern until the first hard overnight frost," State Public Health Veterinarian Catherine Brown said. "Residents need to continue to take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites: use insect repellant, cover up, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active."

Last year, eight human cases of West Nile virus infection-transmitted by infected mosquitoes-were reported in the state. People over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for severe illness.