FRESNO, Ca. – A 78-year-old man is the second West Nile virus related death this year, Fresno County Health Department officials said.
The health department warns that the risk of being bitten by a mosquito and contracting the virus increases in August and September. The man, identified as Robert Diaz, died at the Community Regional Medical Center on July 26, 2019, after being in the hospital for around two weeks. His family told the Fresno Bee, that Diaz had not shown any signs until he had a seizure and was hospitalized. While in the hospital his health worsened, leading to his death.
The information regarding his death comes weeks after his death because the Fresno County Health Department had to step in to conduct an investigation before his cause of death could be confirmed. The other confirmed death was Robert Mears, 74, of Imperial County. The Fresno County Health Department also announced a positive Saint Louis Encephalitis human case.
So far, there have been 26 people who have tested positive for West Nile Virus this year.
“This tragic death from West Nile Virus and this severe illness from St Louis Encephalitis in Fresno County are strong reminders that everyone should increase efforts to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” says Dr. Ken Bird, Fresno County Deputy Health Officer. “August and September are peak periods of West Nile virus transmission in Fresno County. I urge everyone to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”
Residents are urged to check their property for standing water, as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. In addition, any dead birds should be reported to your local health department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that to reduce your risk of infection you should use insect repellent, wear long sleeve shirts, and wear long pants especially during the evening when mosquitoes are most active. You should also take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.
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