First West Nile Virus death reported in Fresno County this year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The West Nile Virus is a growing concern in the Central Valley and now it has claimed the life of a Fresno County resident, the first since 2012.

Leticia Berber with the Fresno County Health Department says there are 26 cases of the West Nile Virus right now in Fresno County.

The below interactive map shows where mosquitoes with West Nile have been found this year.


"It is difficult to pinpoint where these cases are. We have to map them out. So right now we are advising the community that the West Nile Virus is spreading within our community. Take precaution," said Berber.

In addition to the first death from West Nile Virus this year, the health department is also reporting the first Human case of Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus.

That virus is not new to the Central Valley but it is making a comeback.

"We have periodic outbreaks in the Mississippi Valley area and in the Gulf Region. We can also have activity in the west but it is resurging," said Steve Mulligan, Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.

In order to protect the confidentiality, the health department is not releasing the name or gender of the victims but they are saying both are over the age of 50.

Anyone above 50 is at greater risk due to a weaker immune system.

"These individuals may have other illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. So if you do have diabetes or high blood pressure you want to protect yourself. So take those precautions because you are most likely at a higher risk," said Berber.

She pointed out to look out for flu-like symptoms that include fatigue, high fever, body ache and a rash on your back or stomach.

RELATED: What a northeast Fresno woman is going through after suffering from West Nile Virus

The Mosquito Abatement District encourages all age groups to wear insect repellent day and night.

"They need to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites. And this is by using approved insect repellents and they would be containing the active ingredients of Deet, Picaridin, Oil or Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535," said Mulligan.

VIDEO: 'You need to take precautions,' says family of West Nile virus victim
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The Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District is ramping up efforts as mosquitoes in the Central Valley continue to test positive for the West Nile Virus.



Fresno County recommends that people practice the "Three D's" when it comes to protecting yourself from the West Nile Virus.

1. DEET - Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age.

2. DAWN AND DUSK - Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

3. DRAIN - Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, by emptying flower pots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.

RELATED: What a northeast Fresno woman is going through after suffering from West Nile Virus
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