By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
An adult in the area recently died from West Nile virus, state health officials report.
The Virginia Department of Health reported on its website Tuesday that the agency confirmed an adult in the northwestern region died recently from the disease. This marks the first death from the disease this year, according to the agency website. The site, which updates information on West Nile virus reports each week, did not indicate when the death occurred nor in which of the region's several health districts the person died
Lord Fairfax Health District Director Charles Devine on Wednesday morning confirmed the death occurred in the district, which lies within the northwest region. The district covers Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties and Winchester.
Devine would not release the age or gender of the victim.
"To protect the family's privacy we're simply releasing that it was an adult and in the Lord Fairfax Health District," Devine said.
Later that day Devine noted that the VDH allowed him to release that the victim is an "older adult."
As of Tuesday, the West Nile virus has been reported in nine people in the state: four in the northwest region, two in the northern region, two in the central and one in the southwest, according to the VDH. However the health department notes the numbers aren't unusual for the state, which reported nine cases in 2010. The department reported West Nile virus in one to five people each year from 2006 to 2010. The department reported one death each in 2010 and 2011.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a mild winter and spring rains caused the mosquito population to grow early, which contributed to a faster nationwide spread of the disease than in years past, according to the health department.
Mosquitoes spread the disease to humans through bites. Health officials advise people can help prevent bites by using insect repellent containing an active ingredient registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. People should use repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active, according to health officials. Screens on doors and windows helps keep mosquitoes out.
The insects breed in areas of standing water such as flower pots, bird baths, buckets and barrels. The department advises people to turn over containers that collect water and clean out roof gutters and downspout screens; remove old tires; eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats or tarps. Keep children's wading pools empty when not in use.