The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a man from Laclede County probably died from West Nile virus. The man, who was in his 60s or 70s, died on June 9, according to the Laclede County Health Department.
According to the CDC, about one in five people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. Fewer than 1 percent of infected persons develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness. Most people who ware infected with West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquito bites, do not develop symptoms.
This is the 14th year that West Nile virus has been present in Missouri. It first surfaced in the United States in 1999 in New York. Since 2006, the Laclede County Health Department has investigated eight likely cases of West Nile virus, with three of them being fatal -- one each in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Charla Baker, administrator of the Health Department, says investigators have found no connection between the three fatality victims of the disease in the past three years.
Some people are at higher risk of developing serious or fatal symptoms from West Nile virus. They include young children, elderly people, and those with immune system problems. West Nile virus can also contribute to the death of people with serious pre-existing health problems.
Symptoms of West Nile virus are fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes.
Health department officials recommend people take steps to protect against mosquito bites:
- Wear protective clothing, especially when outdoors at dawn and dusk, covering as much skin as possible.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing and exposed skin, following the manufacturer's directions.
- Make sure doors and windows have screens and are in good repair.
- Eliminate standing water around your home and business in things like flowerpots, barrels, tires, gutters, birdbaths, pet bowls, and wading pools,
- Keep grass trimmed around your home and eliminate trash.