The county of San Diego on Thursday reported the area’s second death this year due to West Nile virus, and two other deaths as suspected cases.
The confirmed WNV victim was a 73-year-old El Cajon man who died Sunday. The county did not release his name.
His was among five new cases confirmed by state laboratory testing, bringing the total of people sickened by the mosquito-borne disease to 11 so far this year.
The state lab still has to confirm 13 more suspected WNV cases, including the two additional deaths, according to the county.
“These unfortunate deaths are a strong reminder that West Nile virus is a potentially deadly disease, and is active in our region,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “It’s important that the public continue taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which transmit West Nile virus.”
The county had its highest number of confirmed human cases in 2008, when 37 cases were recorded.
The death of a La Mesa man in 2014 was the region’s first fatal West Nile virus case in seven years.
Health officials said around 80 percent of people with WNV don’t get symptoms, while the remainder will have headaches, fever, nausea, fatigue, a skin rash or swollen glands.
Around one in 150 cases are life-threatening, and the risk goes up for patients over age 50, according to the HHSA.
The best protection is to empty out areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed, stay indoors at dusk and dawn when the insects are most active, and wear long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors.
County officials also urged residents to contact their vector control program when they find dead birds or green swimming pools, by calling (858) 694- 2888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
— City News Serice
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