Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Fresno County Department of Public Health has confirmed its first death caused by the West Nile Virus this year.
No further information was released about the person who contracted the mosquito-borne virus.
So far this year, Fresno County health officials have reported nine positive West Nile Virus cases — a figure that is expected to increase. Last year, there were 14 reported human cases and one fatality.
“Our heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends. We need to stay vigilant as mosquitoes may continue to cause several severe illnesses, including West Nile Virus infection, which require hospitalization and intensive care,” says Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County interim health officer.
Also on Thursday, Madera County health officials reported their first West Nile Virus positive case. The Madera County Mosquito & Vector Control District was notified at the time of the original diagnosis in August and spraying was planned in the areas where the positive test originated.
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in 2021, there were 129 reported cases in California, including 12 deaths. Since West Nile Virus was first introduced into California in 2003, there have been more than 7,300 human cases and more than 330 related deaths across the state.
“This case is a reminder of the risks from West Nile Virus-infected mosquito bites. It is important to learn and follow the recommendations to lower your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.” stated Simon Paul, M.D., Madera County public health officer.
Health officials warn residents to protect against mosquito bites and West Nile by practicing the “Three Ds:”
DETER – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus or IR353 oil, according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age.
DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, by emptying flowerpots, buckets, and other water-holding containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito control district.