NC reports first West Nile virus death of the year

From staff reportsSeptember 19, 2013 

— A Wilson County resident has died from a West Nile virus infection, the first confirmed case of the mosquito-borne disease in the state this year.

Reports of West Nile virus disease are relatively rare in North Carolina; only 7 were reported in the state last year, including one in Durham County, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But those infections can be fatal. At least two of the cases in the state last year resulted in deaths. Nationwide this year, there have been 696 West Nile virus cases through Sept. 10, including 28 deaths, according to the CDC.

State health officials have not released any details about the Wilson County case.

“This is a tragic reminder that these infections can be fatal,” said acting State Health Director Robin Cummings. “Most cases of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illness occur from mid-August through mid-October in our state, so we encourage everyone to take precautions to protect against mosquitoes.”

State health officials also recommend taking steps to prevent mosquito breeding sites at homes and businesses, such as eliminating standing water, cleaning ornamental ponds and changing water in animal troughs.

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