A senior citizen in Sacramento County is the first person to die of West Nile virus this year.
The Public Health Department and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith released a statement Friday morning:
“West Nile virus can cause a deadly infection in humans, and the elderly are particularly susceptible, as this unfortunate fatality illustrates,” said Dr. Smith. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”
West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Precautions include using insect repellent, keeping doors and windows closed around dawn and dusk and draining any standing water.
Dr. Olivia Kasirye is a public health officer with the County of Sacramento and she says they’re seeing more diseased mosquitoes than normal this season.
“We have seen a very active season. The number of mosquitoes that are flying around and the mosquitos that do have the virus,” says Kasirye. “So we’ve tried to get the message out.”
The State Department of Health has reported 10 human cases of West Nile from eight different California counties this year. Birds and mosquitos from 30 counties have tested positive for the disease. The number of diseased birds and mosquitos is above the state’s five-year average.
Check California’s West Nile virus website for latest information on West Nile virus activity. Report dead birds on the website or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).