Mosquitoes in York County have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

State health officials announced this week that an adult from Cumberland County was diagnosed with the virus and are now cautioning Mainers to take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory this week confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in a group of mosquitoes collected Aug. 21 in Kittery, according to the CDC. The state collects a sampling of as many as 50 mosquitoes – known a mosquito pool – and tests for the disease. One mosquito pool tested positive.

“West Nile is widespread throughout the United States right now,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett. “Mainers should take extra precautions against being bitten.”

Four cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed this season in Massachusetts and another case was confirmed in Connecticut.

The adult in Cumberland County who tested positive for West Nile virus likely contracted it while out of state, according to the CDC. The person became ill in early August while on a cross country road trip and was hospitalized. It is the state’s first human case of West Nile virus since 2015.

West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus are carried by mosquitos, which pick it up from infected birds. While most people infected with the mosquito-borne virus show no symptoms, others can develop fever, headache, body aches and stiffness.

Officials say the best ways to avoid mosquito bites are to get rid of standing water and to wear insect repellent. They also recommend people vaccinate horses against both West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

(AP file photo)


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