Wilson County man dies from West Nile virus


The man's name has not been released, but health officials told ABC11 he spent a lot of time working outside in his garden.

So far this year, the number of cases is down. In 2012, there were seven confirmed cases and two deaths.

"This is only the first case of West Nile virus that we have identified in North Carolina this year," said N.C. Public Health Veterinarian Carl Williams. "Of course, the transmission season isn't over yet."

Health officials say the virus is transmitted most often in late summer through early fall, and, while many don't get sick after becoming infected, some cases can be fatal.

"For a few unfortunate persons, it progresses to what we call a neuro-invasive disease where it causes symptoms of encephalitis, and in some unfortunate cases, even death," said Williams.

Health officials say West Nile virus can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Get rid of standing water
  • Keep window screens in good condition
  • Wear long sleeves and pants while outdoors
  • Wear bug spray to keep mosquitoes away

"The risk is not restricted to Wilson County," said Williams. "These cases can and do occur across the state."

Through Sept. 10, the Center for Disease Control has reported 696 cases of West Nile virus nationwide including 28 deaths. There were more than 2,600 cases reported during the same time last year.

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