The first West Nile virus-related deaths of the season are being reported in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Public Health officials announced on Thursday that 26 people have been affected by the virus, and two people over 50 years old have died.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, body aches and muscle weakness. Life-threatening symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and/or inflammation of the brain. If someone experiences these symptoms it can lead to paralysis or even death.
Public health official are urging residents to use precautions to protect themselves against the infection as part of their “Follow the Bite” campaign. Some suggestions include wearing bug repellent, removing standing water, properly maintaining pools, wearing lightweight clothing and covering arms and legs.
In Maricopa County last year, there were 62 cases of West Nile virus, including two deaths. There were also 22 St. Louis encephalitis cases with two deaths.