An elderly woman has died of the West Nile virus in Merced County, health officials announced Thursday morning.
This is the first West Nile-related death in the county this year.
The Merced County Department of Public Health says so far, four other human cases have been reported in the county; all of those people recovered.
This is the fourth death in California this year. Last month, a woman in Fresno County died from the virus.
To date, there have been 69 reported West Nile virus cases in the state.
"All residents, especially those over 50 years of age and those with chronic health conditions, should take every precaution to protect themselves and their families from West Nile virus," states Kathleen Grassi, MPH, RD, Director of the Merced County Public Health Department, "There are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and contracting this disease."
Residents can protect themselves and their families from West Nile virus in three simple ways:
-- DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Repellents keep mosquitoes from biting. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
-- DAWN AND DUSK: Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent when out of doors at this time of day. Long sleeve shirts and full length pants add protection. Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
-- DRAIN: Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water around the home where water can collect, including in flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters, and pet bowls. Use mosquito fish or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae in ponds.
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