SAN BERNARDINO • One person in San Bernardino County has died from West Nile Virus, county officials said Tuesday, marking the county's first death from the virus this year.
No details were released as to the identity of the person or where officials suspect the victim had contracted the virus.
A total of 19 symptomatic human WNV cases have been confirmed so far in 2012, according to a statement from the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health.
"We continue to see an increase of WNV activity throughout the county and therefore, we strongly encourage that the public take appropriate precautionary measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites," said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare with county health. "People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus."
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms; however, some people may develop severe symptoms which can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis.
Citizens can protect themselves from mosquito bites by taking the following precautions:
• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
• Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes lay eggs.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
The public is encouraged to participate in the West Nile Virus surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the State West Nile Virus toll-free hotline at (877) WNV–BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For more on West Nile Virus, visit www.sbcounty.gov/dehs or call (800) 722-4794.