North Carolina is reporting its first death related to the West Nile virus, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). To protect the family's privacy, no specific information about the person will be provided, NCDHHS said in a news release.
People across the state are encouraged to take precautions to prevent mosquito-borne illness, especially with heavy rainfall expected in the coming days from Ian.
NCDHHS said so far in North Carolina nine cases of WNV had be confirmed this year and more reports are being investigated. Since 2012 the number of cases reported per year ranged from zero to 10 in North Carolina, NCDHHS said.
"This is a tragic reminder that these infections, though relatively rare, can be fatal," said Michael Doyle, State Public Health Entomologist. "We see most cases of mosquito-borne illness in the months from August through October, so we urge residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites."
Last week, NC health officials reported higher than average West Nile Virus activity for this time of year across the state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most people who become infected with WNV experience either no symptoms or a mild, flu-like illness, which is partly why for every verified WNV case, there are approximately 100-150 more infections that are undetected.
Some people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. In one percent of cases, the virus can cause more serious conditions, including encephalitis, meningitis, meningoencephalitis and possibly death.
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