Adult dies of West Nile Virus in Onondaga County

The Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Cynthia B. Morrow, says a person has died from West Nile.

This is the second reported case of West Nile in Onondaga County this year, and the first death. It is also the first-ever known death from West Nile virus in Onondaga County.

The individual, described as an older adult with several additional medical conditions, was hospitalized and later succumbed to the disease.

Out of respect for te family and for confidentiality reasons, Dr. Morrow said the details of the individualâ??s death will not be shared.

Dr. Morrow added that those with other medical complications and people over age 50 are at greater risk for complications from West Nile.

The virus is also rare. The health department said 80% of people infected don't even know it, while the other 20% show flu-like symptoms.

Despite the death, Dr. Morrow said the county will not take preventative action because of low mosquito numbers. "We are at a historically low level of mosquito counts," said Dr. Morrow. "When we have so few mosquitoes in our community, spraying just doesn't make sense. There aren't enough of them to warrant spraying."

No mosquitos collected in traps last week tested positive for West Nile virus. Dr. Morrow cautioned, however, that some of the highest mosquito counts are in late August and early September, so it is still important to take precautions for the remainder of the season.

Earlier this month, Morrow declared that West Nile virus was "widespread" in Onondaga County after it was found in five different locations.