West Nile virus death reported in southeastern NC

Mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in St. Louis County for the first time this summer

Mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in St. Louis County for the first time this summer

It's the first death from the mosquito-borne illness in the state this year.

"These infections are rare, but this is a tragic reminder that they can be fatal", said State Public Health Veterinarian Carl Williams.

"Usually we detect West Nile virus in dead birds first, but this year we've been getting very few dead bird reports from the public, so we haven't had many to test", said Schutz. Those who do become ill experience symptoms such as a fever, headaches, muscle aches, rashes and fatigue. Only in about one percent of cases does the virus turn deadly. Although there have been no cases reported to the KDHE in 2018, there have been more than 600 cases of the most severe form of WNV and 30 deaths in Kansas from 1999-2017. That includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30 percent DEET in accordance with all label instructions, and avoiding mosquito-infested areas or times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn or throughout the night.

While some West Nile infections can lead to serious health problems, health officials say most people who are infected with West Nile show no symptoms.

The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird.

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South-central Kansas, including Sedgwick County, is under a high-risk warning for West Nile virus. During that time, 48 people have died from the infection in North Carolina through 2016.

Because they're not bothered too much by mosquitoes in daytime, residents "think they don't have to take precautions, but now is the time they need to be vigilant about this", Hanson said.

The Department of Health offers more tips to control the mosquito population.

Use air-conditioning and make sure window and door screens are in good fix to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.

Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m- toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8- diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.

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