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Fresno County Reports First West Nile Death of 2012

An elderly Fresno County woman is dead today after contracting West Nile virus. Her death is the second in California associated with the virus this year. She had been hospitalized prior to her death.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health released a statement today indicating that there have been 26 cases of West Nile virus in humans throughout the state this year. In 2011, the state reported a total of 158 cases with 9 deaths. Fresno County had 9 reported cases of the illness in 2011, with no deaths.

Dr. Edward L. Moreno, department's director released a statement urging residents, especially those over 50 and those with chronic health conditions to take precautions to to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

The county issued the following recommendations for avoiding the virus:

  • Apply insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Use repellent, especially in the early morning and in the evening, when mosquitoes that carry WNV are active.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Repair or replace screens that have holes.
  • Contact mosquito abatement districts to report poorly maintained swimming pools or water features that appear green. Neglected pools are the #1 source of mosquito breeding in residential areas. Over 3,000 neglected swimming pools have been reported in Fresno County.
  • Get FREE mosquito fish for backyard ponds or horse troughs from mosquito abatement districts. Call 559-268-6565 or 1-800-821-1577 for more information.
  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels.