Three Rivers Public Health Department on Monday afternoon announced the first confirmed death of West Nile Virus (WNV) within the health district.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Most people exposed to the virus don’t get sick the health department said in a press release, but about 20% develop symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea, and fatigue. In a very small proportion, less than 1%, the virus affects the nervous system, leading to a more serious illness that can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and even death.
Those who are over 60 years old, have underlying medical conditions or depressed immune systems, are at higher risk of more severe infections of WNV.
People can reduce their risk by:
- Using a repellant that contains DEET. The CDC also has approved picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks.
- Taking extra precautions when going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.
- Be cautious outdoors until there are consistently low overnight temperatures, even with sudden changes in weather.
Free mosquito dunks are available to residents of Dodge, Washington, and Saunders counties. Mosquito dunks, which kill mosquito larvae when added to standing water or water gardens, can be picked up at Three Rivers Public Health Department located at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave., in Fremont. Mosquito wipes have also been distributed to various community locations throughout the Three Rivers jurisdiction.