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Orange County woman dies from West Nile Virus infection

December 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Orange County Health Care Agency said a woman died from a West Nile Virus infection last week. The 61-year-old OC resident died after a several-week-long illness. The woman had the more severe form of the virus infection, according to officials, known as West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease.

As of December 5 the total number of reported symptomatic cases of WNV infection in Orange County is 39, and 6 blood donors have tested positive for the virus, according to the agency.

The number of cases has decreased significantly in the last month, but this is the highest number of WNV infections and the first WNV related fatality in Orange County since 2008, when there were 79 total WNV infections and three WNV related fatalities, the agency said.

West Nile Virus cases occur most frequently in summer and fall. Most Orange County cases of WNV in 2012 occurred in September and October, the agency said.

Most people infected with West Nile Virus don't experience symptoms or become seriously ill. About 20 percent of those infected with West Nile Virus will experience symptoms of West Nile fever, which may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, tiredness, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash, said the agency.

Anyone who develops the more serious symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness, or vision loss should seek medical care immediately. People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile Virus infection, the agency said.

For more information, visit the Orange County Vector Control District.


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