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8 Sep, 2015 16:45

North Carolina reports first death from West Nile Virus

North Carolina reports first death from West Nile Virus

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reported the first death from West Nile Virus in the Tarheel State in 2015. The state did not have any previous cases this year.

So far in 2015, 415 cases of West Nile have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 45 states and the District of Columbia. There were 10 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease in the country as of September 1.

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North Carolina has not released any information about the victim, including age, gender and location of the person who died.

"This is a tragic reminder that these infections, though relatively rare, can be fatal," Dr. Carl Williams, State Public Health veterinarian, said in a statement. "We see most cases of mosquito-borne illness in the months from August through October, but you can still enjoy your time outdoors by following some basic control measures."

About 1 in 5 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness, the CDC said.

To prevent infection, the CDC recommends wearing insect repellant outdoors; wearing long pants, long sleeves and socks when possible outdoors; and taking extra care during peak mosquito biting hours from dusk to dawn.

The potentially lethal virus has become an annual concern for some states ever since it was first detected in North America back in 1999. The disease is carried and transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and can be particularly dangerous for elderly individuals.

North Carolina has had 13 cases of West Nile Virus between 2010 and 2014.