West Nile Virus Claims Elderly Benton County Victim
Man was in the "target" age range for issues from the disease.
The Washington State Department of Health reported Thursday the man was in his 80's, but did not specify his exact location in the county, or the date he died. Officials say he was hospitalized before his death, and likely contracted it from a mosquito bite near his home.
Ten other people have been diagnosed with the virus, 1 in Adams County, 8 in Benton, and one in Franklin County. One person who donated blood had the virus turn up in their samples from the donation center, but they did not exhibit any symptoms.
Officials say the majority of those who may contract it will never know it. However, those who are elderly, and especially in poor health, or very young infants, are susceptible to the mosquito-borne virus. According to the Health Department:
"Most people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms at all. Others may develop fever, headache, or body aches. For a small percentage of people, West Nile virus infection can be very serious, resulting in encephalitis, meningitis, or other complications. People with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease are at greater risk for serious illness. Anyone with severe symptoms should contact a health care provider. More information is available on the agency’s West Nile virus information line, 1-866-78-VIRUS (1-866-788-4787) and on the West Nile virus website."