Scotland County has the second reported case of the West Nile Virus in the state this year, heath officials say.
Officials have not released the name of the patient, but say she is a 63-year-old county resident with no history of travel.
A Wayne County resident who died from West Nile Virus last week was the first case.
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.
Scotland health officials are urging residents and visitors to take precautions.
“This is a tragic reminder of the importance of prevention,” said Wayne Raynor, county health director. “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.”
Mosquitos carry the highest amounts of virus in the early fall, which is why the rate of the disease increases in late August to early September. The risk of disease decreases as the weather becomes colder and mosquitos die off.
Although many people are bitten by mosquitos that carry West Nile virus, most do not know they’ve been exposed. Few people develop severe disease or even notice any symptoms at all.
Risk factors for developing a more severe form of West Nile virus include a weakened immune system, such as HIV, organ transplants and recent chemotherapy; the old or very young and pregnancy.
Health officials say mosquitoes are most active from dawn to dusk, so if you plan to be outdoors, always use repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin as well as on clothing (mosquitoes will bite through thin cloth).
DHHS recommends the following precautions to eliminate potential breeding sites around your home and business:
— Eliminate standing water in places like flower pots, discarded containers, gutters and kiddies pools.
— Clean ornamental ponds and ensure that filtration systems are functioning properly.
— Clean and change water in horse troughs at least once a week.
It also is important to keep window screens and panes in good condition to prevent entry of insects into your home and wear long sleeves, pants and socks when weather permits.
For information on how to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illness or the safe use of insect repellents visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/deet.html, or contact Scotland County Department of Public Health at 910-277-2440.