Current West Nile virus season claims first life, two other human cases recorded to date

PHOENIX – After documenting the first two human cases of West Nile virus this season, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health says the disease has now claimed the life of an elderly man.

The elderly man who contracted the virus is said to have also had underlying health issues.

West Nile virus can cause severe flu-like symptoms in humans and horses. Fevers, head and body aches and muscle weakness are among the most common West Nile symptoms.

According to a news release, elderly people may experience more severe aches, a high fever, neck stiffness and inflammation of the brain, which can cause paralysis or death.

The monsoon storms that brought extreme moisture to the Valley over the weekend left stagnant waters and conditions that attract more mosquito activity.

Monsoon season will continue to bring moisture and the risk of West Nile virus is expected to continue into the fall months.

Getting rid of standing water is the main focus, which will help curb mosquito breeding, according to Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

To protect yourself from biting mosquitoes, wear clothing that covers skin and use insect repellent.

Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, so avoid outdoor activity during those hours.

Keep windows and doors closed, remove things that collect water around your home and properly maintain swimming pools and water features.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, over 1,000 human cases of West Nile virus have been reported since it was first seen in Arizona in 2003.

Maricopa County Environmental Services can help curb mosquito activity by treating mosquito breeding habitats and maintaining water pools in your neighborhood.

Maricopa County also has a program that supplies mosquito-eating fish at no cost for concerned residents.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit their website.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, inc. all rights reserved. this material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Current West Nile virus season claims first life, two other human cases recorded to date


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