Health Officials Report San Bernardino County’s 1st Death From West Nile Virus for 2015

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San Bernardino County Health officials on Monday confirmed the county’s first death from West Nile virus in 2015.

A total of five West Nile cases were confirmed within the county so far this year. The fatality was among those previously reported cases, the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health stated in a news release.

No other information about the patient was released.

At this time last year, there were eight confirmed cases of the virus in the county with no reported deaths, the release stated.

Throughout the state, there are 36 confirmed cases of the virus so far this year, up from California’s five-year annual average of 23 cases, the agency stated.

“We continue to see an increase of West Nile Virus activity throughout the county and therefore, we strongly encourage that the public takes appropriate precautionary measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer.

The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most infected people have no symptoms, but others can experience fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache, health officials stated.

Severe symptoms can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis.

“People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus,” Ohikhuare stated.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit the San Bernardino County Mosquito and Vector Control Program at http://1.usa.gov/1N5qvuM  or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 800-722-4794.