North Carolina has one confirmed fatality from West Nile virus and suspects a second North Carolina citizen’s death to also be caused by the mosquito-bourne virus.
Howard West, 84, of Goldsboro, died Aug. 9 as a result of West Nile virus and Forsyth County Health Department reported that a Forsyth county man who died Aug. 16 is suspected of dying as a result of the virus.
U.S. health officials have reported three times the usual number of West Nile cases for this time of year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 390 cases of West Nile virus disease nationwide this year, the highest number since 2004.
With August and September being the peak months for mosquitoes in North Carolina, citizens should take precautions.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) warns that mosquitoes are most active from dawn to dusk, so if you plan to be outdoors, always use repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin as well as on clothing (mosquitoes will bite through thin cloth).
DHEC also recommends citizens adhere to the following precautions to eliminate potential mosquito-breeding sites around homes and businesses:
- Eliminate standing water in places like flower pots, discarded containers, gutters and kiddie pools.
- Clean ornamental ponds and ensure that filtration systems are functioning properly.
- Clean and change water in horse troughs at least once a week.
“Most cases of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illness happen in August and September, so protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents and making your home or work environment less attractive to mosquitoes,” said Al Delia, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary.
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.