West Nile Virus bites NC

As North Carolina experiences wet weather, Catawba County Health Department, reminds citizens on about serious health problems caused by the flying pesky blood suckers that are now causing deaths.

“With cases of West Nile in North Carolina, Catawba County Public Health is reminding residents to takes steps to avoid getting bitten,” said Catawba County Health Department Public Information Officer Kelly Schermerhorn. “Citizens can also check our website and facebook page for tips from the county.”

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the death of a Wayne County man in August. That was North Carolina’s first confirmed case in 2012 and the first related death in the state in recent history. Other cases have been reported statewide since August. S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported an elderly Aiken County man was the first to die from SC on Monday, Sept. 10. The SCDHEC reported the man was hospitalized after a sudden high fever. West Nile virus is one of several mosquito-borne viruses common to North Carolina. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 390 cases of West Nile virus disease nationwide this year, the highest number since 2004. At least eight people have died.

"This is a tragic reminder of the importance of prevention," said N.C. Health and Human Saervices Secretary AL Delia. "Most cases of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illness happen in August and September, so protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by using mosquito repellants and making your home or work environment less attractive to mosquitoes."

To read more of this story, pick up the print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.