SAN DIEGO – Health officials believe West Nile Virus claimed another life in San Diego County Friday when a 71-year-old man died after experiencing fever, headache and weakness.
The San Diego man had been admitted to a local hospital on October 9. County Health and Human Services officials announced that initial lab testing by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) came back Friday as inconclusive; however, subsequent testing indicated the virus as the suspected cause and the case will remain listed as such.
Breitbart News reported on a surge in the disease in early August, when California saw sixteen confirmed human cases of the disease in just one week. The first two 2014 deaths in the state attributable to West Nile virus were reported that same week.
By August, a total of 35 symptomatic cases had been recorded in ten separate counties, according to Californiaâ€™s West Nile Virus website. Not three months later, 654 reported human cases have been recorded in 30 counties in 2014.
â€œThis would be the second death from West Nile virus in San Diego County and the eleventh case of West Nile virus infection reported this year. Nine of the reported cases have been confirmed by the CDPH lab,â€ the San Diego County release stated.
â€œThis is a very unfortunate death and serves as a strong reminder that West Nile virus can be deadly and is still active in our community,â€ said County public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. â€œItâ€™s important that the public continue taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which transmit West Nile and other viruses.â€
â€œOf those individuals who become infected with West Nile virus, 80 percent will have no symptoms. Most of those who do get sick have mild symptoms of headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands. One in 150 of those infected with the virus will have serious neurologic complications that can be life threatening,â€ according to San Diego County officials.
Californiaâ€™s West Nile virus website reports for 2014: â€œA total of 22 WNV-related fatalities have been reported to CDPH from 10 counties.â€ That is more fatalities than any entire year in a decade and more cases than any year since 2005–and there are still two months remaining in 2014.