The Lucas County Health Department has confirmed that a Toledo woman has died from a West Nile Virus-related infection. This is the first death from the West Nile Virus this year in Toledo, said David Grossman, Lucas County health commissioner.
Diane Wlodarski, a 57-year-old mother of seven and former kindergarten teacher, died on Oct. 12. She began to feel flu-like symptoms about Oct. 1 and was admitted to the University of Toledo Medical Center the next day but her condition deteriorated rapidly, said Karen Declercq, her sister.
Wlodarski's is only the second confirmed death in Lucas County in the past 11 years. Ms. Wlodarski, suffered from Scleraderma, a disease that compromises the autoimmune system. The doctors told the family having Scleraderma made it more difficult for her to fight off the West Nile Virus.
West Nile is most commonly transmitted by mosquitoes. There are no medications to treat it or vaccines to prevent it. While people of all ages can be infected with the virus, health officials report those individuals age 50 and older, or those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile.
- Marlen Harris-Taylor