Epidemiology

August 16: West Nile Virus

As of today, 82 mosquito samples across Massachusetts have been found to be positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). As of today, there have been no confirmed cases of WNV in humans, but the risk remains tends to peak in August for WNV transmission (Tuoti & Geller, 2017). According to Dr. Catherine Brown, deputy state epidemiologist for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as quoted by Tuoti and Geller (2017), current weather patterns will be supportive of West Nile Virus mosquito populations, which increases this mosquito population's activity. 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) encourages residents in Massachusetts to:

  • Use insect repellents 
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Avoid activities around dawn and dusk
  • Repair damaged window or door screens 
  • Remove standing water from areas around your home, as the type of Mosquito that carries WNV, tends to reside in standing water. 

 

For more information on WNV, including Clinical Signs & Symptoms and Diagnosis & Reporting, please follow the links below:

  • CDC: West Nile Virus. This link brings you to the WNV for Health Care Providers Clinical Evaluation & Disease part of the CDC page on WNV. It outlines Diagnosis & Reporting, Clinical Signs & Symptoms, Clinical Evaluation, and Outcomes.
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health Mosquito-borne Diseases. This page brings you to the MDPH page on Mosquito-borne diseases. Here you can find General Information and FAQs and guidance on Prevention & Control, Surveillance Plan, Summaries & Data, WNV for Healthcare Providers and Veterinarians, and Travel-related Mosquito-borne diseases. Additionally, there are educational materials and helpful links/resources. 
  • MDPH Arbovirus Daily Update. Here you can find information about the communities at highest risk for WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

Reference:

Tuoti, G., & Geller, S. (2017, August 15). Needham health officials urge caution against mosquitoes. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://needham.wickedlocal.com/news/20170815/needham-health-officials-urge-caution-against-mosquitoes

August 9th: Updated Zika Virus Clinical Guidance

This notice is from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Catherine M. Brown, dvm, msc, mph

Deputy State Epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian

To our partners in healthcare and public health-

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has updated its guidance around testing of pregnant women potentially exposed to Zika in response to new information published by CDC. The MDPH recommendations are in-line with CDC guidance and continue to recommend appropriately timed testing for symptomatic pregnant patients. Testing of asymptomatic pregnant patients should be considered and can be requested through commercial laboratories where Zika virus testing is now widely available. There is a continued strong recommendation around complete evaluation of infants born to mothers with potential Zika virus exposure during pregnancy, regardless of the mother’s laboratory testing status. Zika virus laboratory test interpretation remains complex as are questions around timing of conception following potential exposure and recommended duration of condom use to prevent sexual transmission. MDPH epidemiology staff are available 24/7 at 617-983-6800 to assist with interpretation and decision-making as needed.

 

Attached please find the updated guidance which will also be available shortly  on our website at www.mass.gov/zika.