NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County officials, citing a report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), announced that a county resident who recently died tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
The person’s location, age, date of death, and medical facility they were treated at is unknown at this time. The New Hanover County Health Department declined to share additional information about the West Nile Virus-related death, citing patient privacy laws about the death certificate including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
NCDHHS declined to comment or answer any questions relating to the death, referring WECT to contact local health officials.
Additionally, county officials say the public shouldn’t be alarmed since colder temperatures have decreased mosquito populations in New Hanover County as mosquito season is coming to an end.
“Our sympathy goes out to this family. Public Health will continue working diligently to monitor the mosquito populations in our county and educate our residents about mosquito prevention,” said New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. “These infections are rare, but this is a reminder that the risk is present. We encourage residents to continue taking precautions when they are outside and be vigilant to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
Mosquitoes can spread a variety of diseases; and children, elderly, and immunocompromised populations are at the greatest risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who are infected with West Nile virus do not experience symptoms, or only have mild flu-like symptoms.
Four in five people who get sick with West Nile Virus do not have any symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months,” according to the CDC.
You should see your healthcare provider if you have any of the described symptoms, and they can perform a test to diagnose, CDC says.