West Nile claims second victim, a Kern County man
SHAFTER (AP) – An elderly Kern County man died from complications associated with West Nile virus, the second California fatality attributed to the mosquito-borne disease this year, health officials said.
The death of the 85-year-old Shafter man was announced Tuesday, less than two weeks since a 96-year-old woman from Bakersfield died after being exposed to the virus.
“The death of this fellow Californian is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites and West Nile virus,” said Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health.
Infected mosquitoes spread the virus by biting animals and people, but most cases of West Nile in humans do not result in any symptoms. Some people develop fevers, headaches and swollen lymph nodes, while a very small percentage of victims are paralyzed or contract life-threatening infections.
Health officials recommend people avoid spending time outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; dress in clothes to keep mosquitoes away from the skin; drain areas where mosquitoes can breed; and use insecticide with the chemical DEET.
Thirty-six Californians have become ill after being infected with the virus this year. In 2006, the disease killed seven people across the state.