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First West Nile Virus death of the year reported in Sacramento County

CBS News Live
CBS News Sacramento Live

SACRAMENTO — Health officials have reported the first West Nile Virus death in Sacramento County this year.

The person was in their 70s and had been receiving treatment in the hospital for the virus. Sacramento County said the individual had an underlying chronic disease.

"This is a reminder that West Nile Virus is a serious disease and unfortunately, can result in death, especially for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems," said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, the county's public health officer.

There are 16 other West Nile Virus cases that are either confirmed or under investigation within the county, officials said. The virus is transmitted to humans and animals through bites from mosquitoes, which are typically infected when feeding on infected birds.

Sacramento County Department of Public Health said ways to avoid being bitten and prevent contracting the virus are:

  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Ensure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens
  • Eliminate standing water around your property that can be a hotspot for mosquito breeding. 
  • Avoid going outdoors as much as possible during peak mosquito times, which are typically dawn and dusk
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when possible
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