The victim is a man, about 70 years old, who lived in western San Bernardino County. A total of 19 people have contracted the virus this year in the county.
"We are greatly saddened by this death that has occurred in San Bernardino County. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family. We continue to see an increase of WNV activity throughout the county and therefore, we strongly encourage that the public take appropriate precautionary measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites," said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, San Bernardino County health officer.
The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Symptoms include fever, body aches, nausea and rashes.
Ohikhuare said people over 50 years old should be especially cautious, because they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.
Officials gave the following tips to protect from mosquito bites:
- Avoid spending time outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
- Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes lay eggs such as birdbaths, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters or puddles from leaky sprinklers.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.