Massachusetts reports third human West Nile virus case

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Tuesday that it confirmed the third case of West Nile virus in the state this year.

The case, a woman in her 20s from Middlesex County, was never hospitalized.

DPH said that there was no risk level change associated with the case, but warned that West Nile virus remains a threat despite the changing of seasons.

"When overnight temperatures are cool, mosquitoes are more active around dusk and into the early evening," Catherine Brown, the DPH state public health veterinarian, said. "They may also be active during warmer, humid days in areas without direct sunlight. People need to continue to use insect repellant, cover up exposed skin, and reduce outdoors during those times when mosquitoes are at their most active. The risk of mosquito-borne illness will continue until the first hard frost."

DPH also recommended that animal owners take steps to protect them by regularly flushing water troughs and keeping horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.

Massachusetts reported eight human cases of West Nile virus in 2013.

West Nile virus can affect individuals of all ages, although those over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing serious illness.