In early August 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) identified West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes in several traps located directly adjacent to Brookline. As a result, the risk level is at Moderate, and we conclude that the virus is present throughout the Town. Mosquito-borne viruses are viruses that are carried and spread by mosquitoes. In this part of the
country, public health surveillance is done for two mosquito-borne viruses that can cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain) - West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The period of highest risk of getting either disease can be from late July through the fall.
Mosquitoes get WNV and EEE by biting infected birds. People and animals can get these diseases by being bitten by an infected mosquito. There is no evidence that a person can get these viruses from handling live or dead infected birds or animals. However, gloves should be worn when handling any dead animals and double plastic bags used to discard them in the trash.
Most people bitten by mosquitoes carrying WNV will experience no symptoms or very mild
symptoms and will recover on their own. Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe WNV disease. People who are bitten by mosquitoes carrying EEE tend to experience more severe symptoms. Severe symptoms of both diseases include high fever, muscle weakness, headache, disorientation, neck stiffness, paralysis, coma, tremors, convulsions and sometimes death. There is currently no vaccine or medical cure for these illnesses. In severe cases intensive medical therapy such as intravenous (IV) fluids and nutrition, and ventilator support can be administered in hospitals.