West Nile virus, one of several mosquito-borne viruses common to North Carolina, has taken its first victim in the state.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the first fatality of the year from West Nile virus after a man in Wayne County infected with the illness died.
There has been a record number of cases of West Nile virus nationwide this year. More than 390 cases have been reported, the highest number since 2004, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is a tragic reminder of the importance of prevention, said Al Delia, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. 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 repellants and making your home or work environment less attractive to mosquitoes.
Health officials say mosquitoes are most active from dawn to dusk, so it is important to use mosquito-repellant during the day, when spending time outdoors. It is also important to keep window screens and panes in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from getting indoors.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends using repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil to help prevent mosquito bites.