West Nile virus kills woman in Merced County

September 8, 2012 12:21:40 PM PDT
The West Nile virus has claimed its fourth victim of the year in California. An 86-year-old Merced County woman died after being infected by the mosquito borne disease in August.

There have been three other West Nile virus-related deaths in the state in 2012: an elderly Fresno County woman, an 88-year-old Kern County woman and an 85-year-old Sacramento County man.

State officials say dozens of other people have been infected with the virus, but have survived. Ten horses and more than 1,000 dead birds have also tested positive for the infection.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes. One out of every 150 infected people develop severe symptoms, including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.

Officials say this has been one of the worst years on record for the West Nile Virus, which has prompted more than the usual amount of fogging to wipe out mosquitoes. On Friday night, Contra Costa County Vector Control fogged parts of Discovery Bay and Byron.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)