SACRAMENTO - The West Nile virus has claimed its first human victim of the year in Sacramento County.
In a release issued Wednesday, Sacramento County officials said a 74-year-old woman died as a result of contracting the virus. The woman also had underlying chronic disease and had been hospitalized, according to the release.
"This is a very sad outcome, one we had hoped to prevent. We are working to educate people about steps that can be taken to prevent contracting West Nile Virus," Sacramento County Health Officer Olivia Kasirye said.
Seven other cases of West Nile are under investigation as of Wednesday, the release detailed. Public Health officials continue to gather information on those individuals.
The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Although, the majority of individuals infected with West Nile virus will display no symptoms and not realize they have been infected, officials urged the importance of taking precautions to prevent contracting the virus. People over 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for serious illness, according to health officials.
The most effective ways for individuals to avoid mosquito bites and prevent West Nile are:
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, according to label instructions.
- Ensure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
- Avoid going outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when possible.