BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Officials said Tuesday that a 76-year-old man became this year's first local person to die of West Nile virus.
The man was infected three months ago, according to the Kern County Public Health Services Department. No other details about the man were released.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito.
"West Nile virus is endemic in Kern County, but we were hoping that we would not have to announce a death related to the infection for this season" said Dr. Claudia Jonah, county health officer. "It is necessary to remember that depending on who becomes infected, there are occasions in which this illness can be deadly."
The health department reminded people of tips for avoiding West Nile virus:
Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset. Also make sure that the screens on your doors/windows are properly placed and secure and use protective clothing if going outdoors.
Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions and do not forget to reapply as recommended.
Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.