NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Thursday two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. Both individuals are male, one in his 50s and the other in his 70s and both were exposed to WNV in Middlesex County.

Image/CDC

This follows a case earlier in the week, the first human case of WNV identified in Massachusetts this year, also from Middlesex County.

There have been no deaths this year associated with WNV.

“These are the second and third human cases of West Nile virus infection in Massachusetts this year and we are seeing significant expansion of virus activity in mosquitoes,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Risk from West Nile virus will continue until the first hard frost. As we enjoy the unofficial last weekend of summer and then head back to school and work, it is important for people to remember to continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.”

The Greater Boston area and several towns in Bristol and Worcester counties are already at moderate risk for WNV.

Based on the three human cases, recent increases in WNV findings in mosquitoes, and weather favorable for mosquito activity, the WNV risk level of an additional 38 communities is being raised from low to moderate. These communities are: Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott and Wenham in Essex County; Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Springfield and West Springfield in Hampden County; Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Lexington, Lincoln, Natick, North Reading, Reading, Sudbury, Wayland, Weston and Wilmington in Middlesex County; Dedham, Needham, and Wellesley in Norfolk County; Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop in Suffolk County; and Grafton and Upton in Worcester County.