First West Nile death

Senior in Nevada County is first WNV fatality in the state this year

Shortly after health officials announced the year's first two human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Butte County, the first fatal case in California was confirmed in Nevada County.

The WNV victim was a senior, according to a California Department of Public Health press release. People over 50 years old have greater chances of getting sick and developing complications from WNV, which is transmitted to humans and animals by mosquito bites. Locally, WNV was detected recently in two residents after they gave blood, according to the county Public Health Department.

So far this year, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District has identified 49 pools of WNV-infected mosquitoes. That's more than all of last year, when just 43 were counted. The district also reported the first cases of WNV in sentinel chickens this year (18), as well as eight dead birds.