Kentucky has reported more than 150 human West Nile virus (WNV) cases since the mosquito borne virus was first reported in the state in 2002, including two cases in 2015.
For the first time in 2016, WNV has been reported in a person, in fact two cases have been reported in Louisville–one fatal and one non-fatal, according to health officials. The fatality has been identified only as a 73-year-old man.
Mosquitoes at locations throughout Louisville have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to city officials. “West Nile infected mosquitoes are present throughout the community, and people should take the appropriate precautions,” said Dr. Joann Schulte, director of the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness.
In most instances, people infected with West Nile virus either show no symptoms or relatively mild symptoms. However, less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
To date in the US, 662 WNV cases have been reported through Sep. 13, including 18 deaths.