News Releases

Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Cumberland County

Jul 20, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the death of an elderly Cumberland County resident in July due to West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first confirmed death in the state in 2018. Currently, the Cumberland County Health Department has no further details about the deceased.

The public should not be alarmed but should be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

“We want to express our sincerest condolences to the family of this member of our community. We must use this unfortunate event as a reminder that West Nile virus is still here,” said Duane Holder, Interim Health Director. “We all need to take personal precautions to protect ourselves and loved ones from mosquito bites and thus reduce our risk of infection.”

The young, elderly, and immunocompromised populations are at greatest risk. There are usually no symptoms in most people who become infected with WNV. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of WNV disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

Below are tips to help eliminate mosquito breeding and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease:

  • Use mosquito dunks in standing water. Two month supplies of the insecticide can be picked up for free at the Public Health Department at 1235 Ramsey St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Use the tip and toss method after every rainfall. Tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets and any containers that can hold water, even a small amount, including saucers under flower pots.
  • Store out-of-service or un-mounted tires under cover to prevent the collection of any water.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least twice a week.
  • Keep gutters clean and in good repair, and repair leaky outdoor faucets.
  • When possible, drain any standing water on your property such as puddles and ditches that hold water for more than four days after rain.
  • Make sure rain barrels have tight-fitting screens or lids.
  • Use screened windows and doors, and make sure screens fit tightly and are not torn.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors, which also repels ticks. Remember to always follow product directions.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active or stay indoors during these hours.

For more information about West Nile virus and mosquitoes, visit the Environmental Health website at http://bit.ly/CCEnvHealth and click on Pest Control, the NCDHHS website epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/wnv.html or the CDC website cdc.gov/westnile/index.html. If anyone suspects they have West Nile virus, they should contact their primary care provider.

If you would like more information about the Cumberland County Department of Public Health’s programs and services, health-related data, or community resources, please call 910-433-3600 or visit with someone at the information desk, or visit our website at co.cumberland.nc.us/health. Comments are welcome and can be submitted on our website at co.cumberland.nc.us/feedback. The Health Department is located at 1235 Ramsey St. in Fayetteville.