BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts health officials are reporting the state's first human case of West Nile Virus this year.

The patient is described only as a man in his 60s who lives in Middlesex County. Officials say the man remains hospitalized, but is recovering.

The Department of Public Health said in a statement on Friday that the diagnosis of West Nile was confirmed by testing at the Hinton state lab in Boston.

Officials say they are trying to determine when the man was most likely to have been exposed to mosquitoes infected with the virus.

There were eight confirmed cases of West Nile among Massachusetts residents last year, none of them fatal.

Symptoms can include fever or flu-like illnesses.

Lowell Health Director Frank Singleton said that this year has been a slow one for mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile, possibly because of the milder than usual weather.

He said that the virus is relatively rare in Massachusetts.

"The problem is it's random because it's spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. Four to 5 percent normally of mosquitos are infected. Because it's unpredictable and random, people get upset when a case occurs, but compared to other diseases out there's not a lot of cases historically in Massachusetts," Singleton said.

Singleton advised taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing mosquito repellent and long-sleeved clothing, especially around dusk when mosquitos are prevalent.


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The Department of Public Health also recommends draining standing water around your home and installing or repairing screens on windows or doors.