From New University
October 26, 2018
Orange County Health Care Agency officials confirmed the first human death this year due to West Nile Virus (WNV) in the Orange County area on Oct. 16. The agency identified the victim as an “elderly female resident of Tustin” who died as a result of infection complications.
According to the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, the current WNV threat rating for Orange County is considered “Elevated Risk.” WNV is among the most deadly and prevalent mosquito-borne diseases. 553 cases and 44 deaths were recorded in California last year.
There have been eight West Nile cases reported thus far in Orange County, and cases have been reported in nearby Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Several other deaths have been reported statewide.
WNV is a neuroinvasive virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. People over 50 years of age, young children, and those with immune system weakening medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or hypertension are at a higher risk of contracting a severe infection. Serious cases of WNV lead to inflammation of the spinal cord or brain and can be life-threatening or fatal.