Delaware reports first West Nile virus death

    Delaware public health officials have reported the state’s first death from the disease, including an additional West Nile virus case. 

    The state’s Division of Public Health says a 76-year-old New Castle woman with West Nile and several underlying medical conditions died, Thursday. An 80-year-old Wilmington woman with the virus was treated and released from the hospital yesterday, bringing the total number of cases this year to three.

    “These are the first human cases of West Nile virus that were contracted in Delaware in 2012,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Division of Public Health Director. “The Division of Public Health wants people to know West Nile virus is in Delaware.  It’s tempting with the distractions of back-to-school and the end of summer to forget mosquito protection but it’s more important now than ever.”

    Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus, generally from spring to fall. Health officials say nearly 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not become ill, and that roughly one in 150 people develop severe infections such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis.

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