West Nile Virus Death Rate As 10 Die in Arizona of Mosquito-Borne Virus

West Nile Virus killed 10 people during September in Arizona, the state's Department of Health Services has reported.

There have been 132 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, which is usually spread by mosquito bites, possibly after the insect feeds on an infected bird and then bites a human. There are another 78 probable cases in the state.

The majority of these cases occurred in Maricopa County, which has also suffered the most deaths.

"West Nile virus was first seen in Maricopa County in 2003, and in that time, we've never seen more mosquitoes infected with the virus than we are seeing this year," a Maricopa County news bulletin released on September 20 said. "Additionally, this season, 104 human West Nile virus cases and four deaths have been reported in Maricopa County, which is more than we had the entire season in 2020."

The bulletin added that case counts are approaching the number reported in 2019, which was the county's second-highest year since 2004.

In a newsletter released on September 23, Pinal County also reported higher than usual incidents of West Nile Virus. State officials said: "Here in Pinal County, Public Health has 22 cases under surveillance. This is much higher than normal as the average number of cases since 2016 has been 5 cases per season,"

As there are several months left in the mosquito season, cases of the virus will likely continue to be reported through October and into November due to a reporting delay.

What is the death rate of the West Nile Virus?

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental U.S.

Most people infected with the virus will not suffer any symptoms. Around 20 percent of those infected with the virus will experience fever headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes.

While these people usually make full recoveries, the CDC says the fatigue that results from this severity of infection can last for weeks.

The most severe form of West Nile Virus can lead to effects on the central nervous system. According to the CDC, inflammation of the brain or encephalitis, or meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, occurs in around 1 in 150 people who contract the virus.

The over-60s and people with conditions like diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, as well as people who have received organ transplants, are at greater risk of these more extreme side effects, the CDC added.

Of those who have severe cases, around 10 percent or 1 in 1,500 of the overall West Nile Virus cases results in a fatality.

So far this year, there have been 479 total cases of West Nile Virus in the U.S, resulting in 21 deaths. Colorado has the second-highest number after Arizona with 83 cases and two deaths.

The CDC says the best way to protect against the disease is to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. This can include measures such as regular draining of possible sources of stagnant water like paddling pools, replacing broken screen doors, using air conditioners rather than opening windows, and even wearing long-sleeved shirts and tops.

Additionally, they advise the use of Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellants like DEET and Picaridin.

A stock image of Mosquito. 10 people in Arizona have died of West Nile Virus in September which is transmitted when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird then bites a human. nechaev-kon/Getty