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North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Al Delia urges residents and visitors to take precautions to prevent mosquito-borne illness following the death of a Wayne County adult from West Nile Virus. This is North Carolina’s first confirmed case in 2012 and the first related death in the state in recent history.
West Nile virus is one of several mosquito-borne viruses common to North Carolina. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 390 cases of West Nile virus disease nationwide this year, the highest number since 2004. At least eight people have died.
“This is a tragic reminder of the importance of prevention,” said Delia. “Most cases of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illness happen in August and September, so protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by using mosquito repellants and making your home or work environment less attractive to mosquitoes.”
Mosquitoes can develop from an egg to an adult in as little as a week. DHHS recommends the following precautions to eliminate potential breeding sites around your home and business:
Eliminate standing water in places like flower pots, discarded containers, gutters and kiddie pools.
Clean ornamental ponds and ensure that filtration systems are functioning properly.
Clean and change water in horse troughs at least once a week.
It also is important to keep window screens and panes in good condition to prevent entry of insects into your home and wear long sleeves, pants and socks when weather permits.
Health officials say mosquitoes are most active from dawn to dusk, so if you plan to be outdoors, always use repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin as well as on clothing (mosquitoes will bite through thin cloth). Remember always to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
For information on the safe use of insect repellents visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/deet.html .